County Durham’s stop smoking service is to give away free patches for the first time this No Smoking Day.
The annual health promotion day aims to encourage smokers to try to quit, and this year's falls on Wednesday, March 14.
Smokefreelife County Durham is set to give away free nicotine replacement therapy patches in five locations across the county to help those wanting to quit.
Stop smoking advisers will be available at venues in five towns, including Seaham and Chester-le-Street, between 9.30am and 4pm on No Smoking Day.
Quitters will receive one week’s worth of patches for free after filling out a short assessment with the adviser, and will then be referred to their nearest clinic for further treatment and support.
Annie Pluse, specialist stop smoking adviser, said: “This year, Smokefreelife County Durham are trying a more innovative way of engaging the public, by offering free patches to help support a quit attempt.
"We have also used our social media platforms Facebook and Twitter more to promote our plans for No Smoking Day 2018.
"By meeting people in the community and promoting the benefits of quitting smoking and receiving ongoing face-to-face support with a specialist adviser, we know those people are far more likely to quit and stay quit for good.”
Research shows that accessing a stop smoking service and quitting with an adviser makes you four times more likely to be successful than going it alone.
Smokefreelife County Durham offers free support to anyone living or working in County Durham. The free patches will also be available to smokers in Consett, Bishop Auckland and Newton Aycliffe.
According to Fresh, approximately 78,696 adults smoke in County Durham, and 138,774 NHS appointments a year are due to smoking.
At 19% of the adult population, the prevalence of smoking in County Durham is higher than the regional and national average - the latter being 16.9%. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
Last year Smokefreelife County Durham helped 2,840 people stop smoking. For more information on the service visit the website HERE.