Today is World No Tobacco Day and Clarence MP Steve Cansdell is encouraging all local smokers to “get help and quit.”

“I'm told its like going to the dentist, it is frightening until you actually do it and then you wonder what all the fuss was about,” Mr Cansdell said.

“With the Rudd Government hiking the price of cigarettes again and more help available than ever, now is a great time to butt out.”

“Every time you light up, you are paying Mr Rudd 33 cents in excise and Ms Keneally 6 cents in GST, while at the same time cutting your life expectancy – is it really worth it?”

“A mate of mine just quit and with the savings was able to buy himself top level private health insurance and still has a few dollars a week to spare.”

Mr Cansdell said he had been prompted to speak out because two people close to him, including his own father, had died from tobacco-related illness.

“With nearly 20,000 fatalities each year in Australia, smoking causes three times as many deaths than murder, illegal drugs, alcohol and motor vehicle accidents combined.”

“Make an appointment to talk to your GP about quitting or visit – you have nothing to lose and a life to gain,” Mr Cansdell concluded.

NSW Health is encouraging smokers across NSW to join the millions across the globe in quitting smoking, promoting health and saving money.

“World No Tobacco Day is a day to raise awareness about the hazards of smoking and to encourage smokers to quit,” Tobacco Action and Alcohol, North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) co-ordinator Ros Tokley said.

This year, NCAHS in partnership with NSW Cancer Council, will be holding a Local Government Smoke Free Outdoor Areas Forum in Coffs Harbour. This forum is aimed at encouraging all North Coast Councils to develop and implement a Smoke Free Outdoors Policy.

“The 2009 Health Survey data shows that on the North Coast, smoking rates for daily or occasional smokers are on the way down from 22.2% in 2005 to 17.4% in 2009,” Ms Tokley said.

Smokers can call the Quitline on 131 848 to get a Quit Kit or advice on how to quit. There are also products available like nicotine replacement therapy to help people deal with the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine.

“Use World No Tobacco Day to think about quitting. You never know, by the next World No Tobacco Day you might be smoke free. This would be such a positive decision for you, your friends and family,” commented Ms Tokley.

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