Local people have been urged to try to quit smoking and witness the benefits it makes to their wealth and their health.
Representatives from the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership gathered on No Smoking Day on Wednesday to launch the ‘Ready, Steady, Stop’ campaign.
BHCP Regeneration Officer Billy Page said that quitting smoking many years ago has made a huge difference to his own life.
Speaking at the campaign launch, Mr Page said: “I know the benefits personally. Before while I smoked I didn’t get out of bed before I had smoked several cigarettes, but since giving up my breathing has improved 100%. I’ve noticed a difference in terms of tasting food, sense of smell, and smokers have to decorate their homes so often.
“It is also costly and quitting smoking can save you a fortune.”
Mr Page added: “We are asking people to support the campaign. There is more and more evidence and studies coming out every day about the damage smoking does.
“One in two smokers will die of conditions related to the habit and we are trying to tell people to get involved and call into our office and we can help steer them in the right direction if they want to give up.
Mr Page also said that people with young families should also take a serious look at the impact their smoking can have on them.
Maeve McLaughlin, BHCP Acting Manager, said: “When we look at the amount of health inequalities in this area and areas across the north , and we need to recognise smoking has an impact on that. We need to be doing what we can do to get that message out about the huge cost on health and on the Health Service. We can support people who want to get into different programmes, GP referral, get advice.”
Ms McLaughlin urged people had tried to give up before not to lose heart and to try again.