Ex smoker urges residents to quit

A FORMER 20-a-day smoker has backed a new drive to get Exmouth residents to kick the habit - by visiting a free advice centre in Withycombe.

A FORMER 20-a-day smoker has backed a new drive to get Exmouth residents to kick the habit - by visiting a free advice centre in Withycombe.

More than a third of 16 to 24 year-olds in Devon smoke, the worst in the country.

But more than 4,000 people in the county quit smoking last year, with the help of NHS Devon stop smoking clinics, where people can get one-to-one support.

Alan Briggs, 71, from Exmouth quit in May following such a visit and said: "My wife and daughters have been on at me for years asking me to quit. It had actually become a bit of an ongoing joke in our house because I tried 50 or 60 times to do it, but could never keep it up.

"The adviser... discussed all my options and explained what was available to me.

"I'm so glad I've managed to quit smoking and it's down to the support I had from the NHS Devon stop smoking service.

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"My wife and daughters are really proud of me and I'm really happy that my grandchildren and great grandchildren won't ever have to breathe in my smoke again."

Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health at NHS Devon, said: "Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health.

"Half of all people who use their local NHS stop smoking service are not smoking four weeks later.

"Smokers can get the help they need through a range of health professionals including specialist health trainers and advisors, and through GP surgeries and pharmacies."

The clinic at the Withycombe Centre, on Tuesday's from 1pm to 3pm.

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