Smoker joins Stoptober challenge
HE MANAGED to avoid the peer pressure and teenage years that could have seen him take up smoking.
But Matt Clapison succumbed to the habit when he was 20 years old.
Now 39, he is one of thousands of people taking part in Stoptober, a 28-day challenge to encourage people to quit smoking.
With more than 70,000 smokers in Hull, health officials said smoking-related deaths in the city are worse than the England average.
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Stop smoking support workers are offering help locally to ensure as many people as possible quit this month.
Mr Clapison, of Beverley, said: "I quit when I went travelling for a year and I have quit for other periods of time.
"Stoptober gives people a date to work towards and if the whole nation is doing it, there are other people out there doing the same thing as you.
"I'm giving it my best shot. This is the most important thing that I can do for my family's future. You only get one life."
Mr Clapison visited the Hull and East Riding Stop Smoking Service for advice on quitting during Stoptober.
He has been prescribed Champix, a medication used to treat smoking addiction, through his GP and has not smoked for 12 days.
In 2010, the Yorkshire and Humber region had the highest prevalence of smokers, with 23 per cent of the local population smoking.
Wendy Dwyer, Hull and East Riding Stop Smoking Service operational manager, said: "Smoking-related deaths in Hull are worse than the England average.
"We have an epidemic and while year-on-year more people are accessing support to quit, we want to encourage even more people to quit because we know stopping smoking will have a significant beneficial impact on their health."
Ms Dwyer said the stop smoking service has already made a difference to thousands of people.
She said: "Over the past year, the service has helped more than 5,000 people quit smoking locally.
"We know everyone is different and this is why we offer a range of free and convenient services to suit the lifestyles and needs of people who want to stop smoking, including one- to-one walk-in sessions, quitting online and also a mobile text support service.
"People wanting to quit with the service will get free nicotine replacement products such as patches or gum."
Health officials in the East Riding said 40,343 people aged 18 and over smoke in the county.
Visit www.readytostop smoking.co.uk or www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober, call 0800 9155959 or text OCTOBER to 61825 for more information.