Every lung counts...this World No Tobacco Day, and every day

Public Health Wales and the British Lung Foundation have joined forces to highlight the benefits of a smoke-free life and urge smokers in Wales to think about the long-term affect smoking has on their lungs.

In Wales around 190,000 smokers try to quit every year. We’re calling on smokers to use World No Tobacco Day as the day to boost their chances of succeeding by contacting Help Me Quit – the free, friendly, local support from NHS Wales, on 0800 085 2219.

Most people know that smoking is bad for their health, but statistics have shown that a large proportion of respiratory illnesses can be attributed to second-hand smoke.

Joseph Carter, Head of the British Lung Foundation in Wales said, “Parents that smoke can have a significant impact on their children’s health because developing lungs are more vulnerable to the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.  Breathing in second-hand smoke can also lead to serious health problems later in life.

“Children’s health can be protected, and even those with an existing respiratory illness can see improvement in their health, through stopping smoking - it really is never too late to quit.”

Rachael Robert’s mother had been a smoker for much of her life but after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at 50, she found the strength to quit in a bid to delay the progression of her condition.

Rachael, a performer from Brynna, recalls some of her earliest memories of her mother. “She was such a glamour puss.

“Her friends would come around and I’d sit there watching them put on their makeup. They’d be nattering away with an applicator in one hand and a cigarette in the other. It’s hard to believe just how much it was glamorised back then and how people would say it was actually good for you.”

On the day her mother was diagnosed, Rachael was working as a nurse, “I remember being told that I had to go and see my mother straight away. Neither of us really knew much about COPD so to us it was a death sentence. It was at that point that she was so desperate to live that she threw her cigarette packet straight in the bin.

“She lived for another 25 years after being diagnosed and I’d hate to think how much shorter that time could have been had she not been so determined from the start.”

Stopping smoking may not always be so straight forward. The journey to becoming smoke free can sometimes take a while, and a couple of attempts. Help Me Quit knows all about those journeys, and help thousands of smokers in Wales to achieve their goals and improve their lung health.

Public Health Wales’ Ashley Gould said: “Your chances of making a successful quit attempt are four times greater with NHS support than by going it alone.  If you are a smoker and would like to improve your health, and protect the health of those around you, the best choice you could make would be to contact Help Me Quit by calling 0800 085 2219; texting HMQ to 80818; or visiting www.helpmequit.wales Our team will help you find the best quit support available for you.”