The new campaign, launched by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) features a heartfelt plea from respiratory doctor Ruth Sharrock for smokers to quit today to protect themselves from smoking related diseases and increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death in Wakefield, where the average number of deaths attributable to smoking every year is estimated to be around 620 .
Whilst smoking prevalence is falling in Wakefield, it is still estimated that around 850 children take up smoking each year .
Director of Public Health Anna Hartley said: “Smoking remains the biggest preventable killer in Wakefield, and we want to encourage all smokers to give quitting a go.
“Quitting smoking can rapidly reduce your risk of a range of life threatening illnesses and our dedicated local stop smoking service Yorkshire Smokefree Wakefield can help support you through your quit attempt with telephone support, face to face sessions, and an online quit programme.”
NHS Wakefield CCG Clinical Chair Dr Adam Sheppard said: “The coronavirus pandemic has made us all conscious of the need to protect ourselves, our families and loved ones. If you smoke, now is the time to quit to keep yourself healthy and out of hospital.
“In my role I often see the impact of smoking, but it’s never too late to quit and experience health benefits.
“Quitting smoking is the best thing smokers can do to improve their health so I’m proud to be supporting the Today is the Day campaign.”
The ‘Today is the Day’ campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, will be directing smokers to effective forms of support to quit on the NHS Smokefree website.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, thousands of smokers have given up but thousands more have also unsuccessfully attempted to give up smoking.
Deborah Arnott Chief Executive of ASH said: “This campaign is designed to encourage those who’ve not yet succeeded, to wake up and decide today is the day to stop smoking.”
 Public Health England. Local Tobacco Control Profiles: Smoking related mortality. [Online]. Accessed 8 July 2020.
 Methodology: Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, December 2019, using Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use in Young People in England 2016 and 2018 data Figures represent the average number of children per year between 2016 and 2018. Percentage of new smokers was calculated for each single-year age band, and 'smoker' was defined as 'regular', 'occasional' or 'used to smoke'. For example, percentage of new smokers aged 13 in 2018, was calculated by subtracting the percentage of smokers aged 12 in 2017, from the percentage of smokers aged 13 in 2018. This calculation was used for ages 12, 13, 14 and 15; for age 11 all smokers were considered new smokers. 2017 figures were estimated as the average of 2016 and 2018, as no 2017 survey was carried out. Percentage of new smokers in England was applied to UK population estimates to obtain the number of new UK smokers. The 2014-18 trend in estimated number of new child smokers in the UK each year was projected forward to obtain estimates for 2019-21. Breakdown to local level carried out by academics from Imperial College London.