March 9 – Hertfordshire No Smoking Day in the UK takes place on March 9, 2022, so to mark the day and help smokers who want to quit, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) is offering free e-cigarette starter kits to adults over the age of 18 who have tried and failed to quit but are ready to do so.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more people have asked HCC for support to quit smoking, and since April 2020, more than 4,300 people have been helped, with more than half of them quitting permanently.
Luke French, a 38-year-old Stevenage resident, stepped forward in 2020 to seek support from HCC’s Health Improvement Services after smoking for more than 20 years.
“My mom died of COPD in December 2019,” he explains, “and after that, the kids were terrified that I was smoking, and they said Dad, you’re going to die like Grandma.
“Then COVID-19 happened, which is also a respiratory disease, so I called my doctor, and she referred me for support.”
With help, Luke managed to cut back on smoking, but he struggled to set a quit day, so his quit counselor suggested he try an e-cigarette.
“With e-cigarettes, I found it easy,” he says, adding that since then, I have stopped craving cigarettes and am gradually reducing the strength of the nicotine. I wish I’d used it years ago.
Two days after quitting, Luke felt better, with clearer lungs and more energy. “I feel more positive, my kids are happier, and they no longer worry that I’ll die from smoking,” he says.
“For anyone who is considering quitting or is trying to quit, I would say get an e-cigarette immediately.”
With more than 100,000 adults smoking in Hertfordshire, it remains the most significant cause of chronic disease in Hertfordshire, causing more than 1,400 deaths in the county each year.
We want to allow Hertfordshire residents to live a healthy lifestyle and the chance to live well,” said Maurice Bright MBE, Hertfordshire’s executive member for public health and community safety.
“E-cigarettes are much less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit. By adding the starter kit to the other cessation methods offered through our cessation services, we will provide the best possible support for residents who want to quit.”
“With our support for quitting, you are three times more likely to succeed. We would say to anyone who wants to quit this tobacco-free day, don’t give up – every time you try. You’re one step closer to success.”