Image paints a picture for all those who should quit

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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The picture of Pompey legend Alan Knight surrounded by shoes certainly makes for a striking image.

Behind every pair of those shoes lies a personal tragedy.

Each pair represents a life needlessly cut short and a family left behind to grieve for someone they loved and lost too soon.

And each pair also represents the huge cost to the public purse.

At times we could all benefit from walking around in someone else’s shoes – and that’s especially true on No Smoking Day.

More than 300 people in Portsmouth lose their lives every year because of a smoking-related illness.

Sometimes it might feel like there are so many different awareness days that we’re in danger of reaching saturation point.

But there’s no doubt that a national day aimed at educating people about the dangers of smoking is needed while people are still dying.

Mr Knight has managed to kick his 20-a-day habit and we commend him for now doing all he can to encourage others to do the same.

Graphic campaigns like the one he’s taking part in today highlight the importance of urging smokers to quit.

And earlier this week we revealed how a poster campaign will warn smokers who congregate outside Queen Alexandra Hospital about the damage they do to the health of other people.

We understand that some people say they find it harder to quit than others.

There are people who can’t give up through willpower alone, but they no longer have the excuse of going it alone to fall back on.

Anyone who wants to quit can access a whole variety of services dedicated to making that happen.

But it’s not always enough to pull people in the right direction – sometimes they need to be pushed.

The fact is that treating those with smoking-related illnesses puts pressure on our already over-stretched NHS.

Smoking can kill. And that’s a message that will need to be hammered out every year until it finally hits home.