HEALTH officials in Argyll and Bute are joining colleagues across the country on Wednesday in the nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging smokers to quit.

No Smoking Day, taking place today (Wednesday, March 13) is an annual health awareness day in the UK to spread the word and invite people to give up the harmful habit.

Argyll and Bute's health and social care partnership (HSCP) is supporting the initiative and promoting the financial, as well as health, benefits of giving up smoking.

Laura Stephenson, Smoke Free co-ordinator for HSCP, said: “The average smoker spends more than £1,500 a year on cigarettes.

"If you smoke a pack a day, it can run to more than £3,000 a year.

"That money could net you a family holiday, a new kitchen or bathroom, or even a second-hand car!

“We know from surveys that more than two thirds of smokers want to quit. So No Smoking Day is about telling people ‘you can do it!’

"There’s lots of free, expert support and advice available from the NHS and other organisations.

“Quitting smoking can save thousands and make you feel better into the bargain, and No Smoking Day is the perfect chance to go for it.”

The national service Quit Your Way, as well as the stop smoking services in Argyll and Bute, are free and supporting No Smoking Day.

For more information about Quit Your Way stop smoking services, contact your local pharmacist or GP practice.