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Smoking increases risk of strokes and heart attacks

Posted on the 12th May 2016

With the month of May designated as annual stroke awareness month, smokers in Lancashire are being called on to understand how smoking can significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Quit Squad, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Stop Smoking Service funded by Lancashire County Council, is calling on people who smoke, vape or chew to realise that smokers are up to three times more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers. As a result, the Quit Squad is offering expert help to people wanting to kick the habit and look after their cardiovascular health.

Julie Trezise from the Quit Squad said: “Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart attacks. People who have high blood pressure and smoke are at particular risk and are more likely to have a stroke than people who don’t smoke. Some 100,000 people die each year in the UK from smoking and it’s this reason why we’re here offering support and information to help people stop. You’re four times more likely to stop with expert help and advice than alone and that’s all the more reason to work with us.

“We’ve got informal sessions that are tailored for individual people. Smokers have nothing to lose, just give it a try and see how it goes. We’ve also got specially trained advisors who are friendly, approachable and will not judge you. We’re here to help and urge everyone to attend and come forward. Once you stop smoking, your health can improve immediately and your risk of stroke will be considerably reduced. It’s never too late to stop, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to prevent a stroke.”

County Councillor Azhar Ali, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, said: “We know that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the UK and that around 183,000 people smoke across the county. That's almost 20% of adults in Lancashire, which is higher than the national average.  I'd urge all smokers out there to get in touch with the Quit Squad and take advantage of the expert support available to help them quit smoking.”

The Stroke Association has designated May as annual stroke awareness month under the strapline Make May Purple, with members of the public being called on to show support for their loved ones who have been affected by stroke and help raise awareness.

To contact the Quit Squad, telephone (Freephone) 0800 328 6297 or 01254 283370 or 01772 644474, visit, or follow on Twitter @LancashireCare #QuitSquad.