A NATIONAL campaign will boost Wigan Council’s efforts to help residents quit smoking, with more than 500 smokers helped to kick the habit in 2023.

As part of the swap-to-stop initiative, the council’s Be Well Stop Smoking Service team will offer four-week vaping kits as part of their supported programme.

The nationwide campaign aims to encourage smokers to quit smoking by using vaping as a less harmful option for adult smokers. The offer can be extended for up to 12 weeks.

Last year Wigan Council’s Be Well Stop Smoking Service supported more than 500 people to quit.

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Councillor Danny Fletcher, lead member for leisure and public health at Wigan Council, said: “Through this successful bid, Wigan Council has been given a huge boost to our resources that will help and support smokers across Wigan Borough who are ready to give up for good.

“The large number of residents who have already been given support to give up over the past year is a testament to the positive results that can be achieved by reaching out for support.

“I would urge any residents who are thinking of giving up smoking to get in touch with our fantastic Be Well advisors who can help you start your journey with the support and tools you need to see it through.”

The vape offer will be integrated into the service which already offers support to smokers through one-to-one guidance, group sessions and video calls.

Eligible residents also have access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), with free products such as patches, gum, mouth or nasal sprays or lozenges.

Rachael Musgrave, Wigan Council’s Director of Public Health, added: “Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of death. Within one year of stopping smoking the risk of heart attacks is halved and after five years, the risk of having a stroke is the same as a non-smoker.

“Stopping smoking can lower the risk of lung cancer, improve mental health and reduce the risk of respiratory diseases.

“Working alongside our health partners through Wigan's tobacco control partnership, we are increasing access and opportunities to support people to stop smoking while also tackling youth vaping.”

Residents looking for support to quit smoking can get in touch with Wigan Council’s expert Be Well health advisors on wigan.bewell@nhs.net or 01942 836967