Time to stub it out?

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EAST Renfrewshire’s health convener Alan Lafferty has called upon residents to change their lifestyle and quit smoking.

To get more locals on the road to giving up the habit, East Renfrewshire CHCP’s health improvement team will be continuing to deliver support groups in Clarkston and Barrhead in the new year.

Smokers who go along will be able to find out techniques to help them quit and stay tobacco free, which could improve both their health and their bank balance.

Smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs around £7. Quitting will save you £217 a month and £2,555 a year.

According to figures from the NHS, people are four times more likely to stop smoking if they attend a support group and use a pharmaceutical product.

The groups are free, friendly and informal.

For information and support, the number to ring is 0141 577 4804.

Councillor Alan Lafferty said: “Smoking does an enormous amount of damage to people’s health and the health of people around them.

The start of a new year is the most popular time for people to overhaul their health and this a great opportunity for anyone who has been thinking about quitting smoking, to take their first step towards that goal”.

Recently, a study found that patients with severe back pain reported “significant” improvements when they kicked the habit, compared with those who continued to smoke.

Research published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery also found that patients with spinal disorders who smoked reported more discomfort than those who did not.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of public health campaign Ash Scotland, said: “People know that smoking kills.

“This study adds to evidence that quitting smoking is the single most beneficial thing that a smoker can do to improve their health.

“For those who are considering quitting over the festive season, it gives them one more reason to do so.”

In 2011, there were more than 100,000 attempts to quit smoking in Scotland.

Almost two-thirds of the country’s smokers have the desire to quit altogether, with New Year’s resolutions as an often-used incentive.