As National No Smoking Day approaches, people in Wolverhampton who are thinking of stopping smoking are being offered help and encouragement to quit.

National No Smoking Day on Wednesday 13 March gives smokers another opportunity to think about stopping smoking.

Doing so can be challenging and the City of Wolverhampton Council's Public Health team will be tweeting information throughout March covering a range of issues that smokers should consider when thinking about quitting.

They include dispelling some of the myths around tobacco, smoking and nicotine, addressing concerns such as stress management and the safety of e-cigarettes and vapes, and providing links to online support tools.

Latest figures show that the percentage of adults who smoke in Wolverhampton dropped from 16.5% in 2015 to 14.4% in 2017, lower than the national average of 14.9% and amounting to some 5,000 fewer smokers. Despite this, smoking remains the largest preventable cause of death in Wolverhampton and is responsible for nearly 1,800 hospital admissions a year. In addition, half of all smokers die early, reducing their lifespan by at least 10 years.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Reducing smoking rates across the city remains a top public health priority for us.

"While we are of course pleased that the number of people smoking is continuing to fall and that, overall, rates in Wolverhampton are lower than the national average, we are acutely aware that smoking rates are still too high and that there remains a lot to do in parts of the city where there are the greatest health needs.

"National No Smoking Day is a great opportunity for smokers to think about quitting, and while this can be challenging, there is plenty of help and support out there to enable people to give it their best shot.

"The tweets aim to help smokers understand their smoking, and challenge some of the myths around what smoking can do for them."

For help and advice on how to stop smoking, please visit Wolverhampton Information Network - Be Smokefree, and look out for advice and information @WolvesCouncil on Twitter from the Public Health team who will be using the hashtag #WolvesWellbeing throughout March.

Smokers who want to quit are being encouraged to think about what sort of smoker they are, and to keep a diary of their smoking. Record what time of day you smoke, who you are with and where you were and perhaps most importantly how you were feeling just before you had that cigarette. Once you have a better understanding of what kind of smoker you are, you will be able to think about and plan alternative things to do in each situation.

It is also common for smokers to feel that having a cigarette helps them when they are feeling stressed but, in reality, smokers are responding to the body's need for nicotine. Instead, smokers can look to use nicotine replacement therapies such as mouth spray, lozenges and skin patches, or try e-cigarettes or vaping, all of which are much safer than using tobacco. Speak to your local pharmacist or search on line for more information about these products.