TODAY is the day to follow Pompey’s mascot’s lead and stamp out that smoking habit once and for all.
Smokers across the area are being encouraged to join thousands of people around the country in quitting today on national No Smoking Day.
Portsmouth Football Club’s mascot Nelson and Pompey players have joined the campaign to get the city smoke-free.
They will be appearing in ads on the city’s buses, showing a giant cigarette who is boss.
This is the third year that the football club has backed the NHS stop smoking promotion as it recognises the value players have as role models for fans and in bringing attention to health messages.
Clare Martin, director of community projects at Pompey said: ‘Raising awareness of the support that is on hand for people who want to stop smoking is one of many ways we work with the local NHS to help Portsmouth fans improve their health.
‘It’s all part of being part of the community, and the photos are a lot of fun too.’
There are many reasons smokers are urged to give up the habit – most importantly the health implications and the fact a smoker’s life expectancy is about eight to 12 years less than a non-smoker.
Even 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure and pulse return to normal. Within five years of quitting your risk of a heart attack halves and within 10 years the risk of lung cancer halves as well.
A smoker can also save thousands of pounds a year by quitting.
But quitting an addiction is hard and that’s why the NHS is keen to promote the help and support on offer to smokers.
Pompey Quit is the free stop smoking service available to people in the city, while Quit4Life is for Hampshire residents.
Both offer free nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum for up to six weeks.
And you can go to one-to-one sessions or group meetings to get extra support and motivation to remain smoke-free.
Sian Howells, the Pompey Quit manager said: ‘Stopping smoking is the most important thing you can do for your health.
‘When you feel ready to give smoking the heave-ho NHS support can mean you are four times more likely to succeed.’
To contact Pompey Quit call (023) 9236 9234 or visit pompeyquit.com.
To contact Quit4Life call 0845 602 4663 or go to quit4life.nhs.uk