ASH Scotland is urging Hawick residents to consider making an individually tailored plan on national No Smoking Day today (Wednesday 9th March 2022) to give up smoking to improve both mental and physical health.

The charity’s call, which is backed by NHS Borders, is encouraging people to ‘Quit Your Way’ in ways which work best for individual circumstances by seeking person-centred support from local cessation services, community pharmacies or the national stop-smoking service Quit Your Way Scotland run by NHS 24.

Although the smoking rate in the NHS Borders area dropped to 17 per cent in 2018, more progress is required if the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of reducing the rate to five per cent or less by 2034 is to be met.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: “Nicotine is highly addictive and, although it can take a number of attempts to quit, some people find giving up cigarettes or tobacco easier than they had thought. For others, it takes a number of attempts, and it is worth trying again. Quitting smoking can improve your mental health and, within a year of stopping, the risk of coronary heart disease reduces by half compared to someone who smokes. Quit Your Way Scotland, local stop smoking services and community pharmacies provide free support which can help you to develop a personalised plan and, on No Smoking Day, we are encouraging people in Hawick to begin taking vital steps towards a much healthier future by stopping smoking for good.”

Dr Tim Patterson, Director of Public Health, said: “Research shows that you are twice as likely to successfully stop smoking and stay stopped if you get help and support from a specialist stop smoking service. Here in the Borders, this is provided by our Wellbeing Service.”

Find out more by contacting the Wellbeing Service on 01896 824502 or visit www.nhsborders.scot.nhs.uk/wellbeing