A local ex-smoker is celebrating one year smoke-free by encouraging others to give up the cigarettes for good to mark No Smoking Day on Wednesday, 8 March 2017.
Alan Godson, 73, from Middleton has kicked the habit after 50 years of smoking with face-to-face support from Rochdale Borough Council's stop smoking service.
'The stop smoking service do a great job'
Alan said: "I've never been a heavy smoker but I have always smoked around ten cigarettes a day. I'd wanted to quit ever since I started really and I had tried to a few times but I've never managed it.
"Last year I finally decided to give up to improve my health, because I was becoming very short of breath. I visited my doctor and they referred me to see a stop smoking advisor and we hit it off straight away."
Alan worked with his stop smoking advisor over the next year receiving health advice, text updates and gentle support.
He added: "They became the voice in the back of my head reminding me not to start smoking again. I felt like if I did I would be letting myself and her down. You need someone on the outside to support you gently rather than standing over you with a whip. The stop smoking service do a great job of putting you on the right path and keeping you there."
'Giving up smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health'
Quitting smoking reduces the chances of developing smoking-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer and strokes. It can also save the average smoker around £250 per month, the equivalent of some new smart phones.
Alan added: "I feel cleaner now. I don't say I'm smoke free I say I'm 12 months clean now. The stop smoking service is excellent and I found it a lot easier to quit with their support and encouragement. I urge anyone who wants to quit and improve their health to give them a call."
Latest figures from Public Health England show that in the borough of Rochdale 22% of adults are smokers. From 2012 – 2014 smoking was the direct cause of 1,115 deaths.
'With the right kind of support you too can quit'
Councillor Janet Emsley, Rochdale Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing, said: "Giving up smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and the health of your family. We have been doing some fantastic work to protect our residents from the harm of tobacco such as educating our children about the dangers of smoking, preventing underage tobacco sales and introducing smoke free spaces.
"Our borough also has lots of support and tools available to suit your quitting needs, from our face to face stop smoking team to daily email support messages, so you don't need to go it alone. I urge all smokers to start the journey back to a healthier life today."
Living Well Rochdale's divisional director, Simon Kweeday, said: "Smoking remains a huge threat to the long-term health of people in the borough, eventually killing half of regular smokers. Alan is a fantastic example of a life-long smoker who has successfully beat the habit. No Smoking Day is a great time for him to remind us that no matter what your age, or how many times you've failed in the past with the right kind of support you too can quit.
"In the borough of Rochdale we're fortunate to have Stop Smoking Clinics in many local GP surgeries and community bases offering friendly, professional support and the best chance to become smoke free. Just give us a call."
For local stop smoking support services visit Stop smoking or telephone 01706 751190.