Cheshire and Merseyside’s health leaders say: ‘there has never been a better time to quit a smoking habit that kills two in three

  • Directors of Public Health in Cheshire and Merseyside’s nine local council areas (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Warrington and Wirral) and the subregion’s Director of Population Health are urging smokers in the area to quit the dangerous habit for good on national No Smoking Day (today)
  • This year’s No Smoking Day is the 40th anniversary of the day, which started on Ash Wednesday in 1984
  • The cohort of Directors of Public Health and Population Health are also supporting a historic piece of legislation that is set to introduce the country’s first smokefree generation

To mark the 40th anniversary of the national No Smoking Day, health leaders in Cheshire and Merseyside have joined forces to urge smokers to use the range of free support available to them give up a dangerous habit that kills two in three of those who do not successfully quit[1].

The subregion’s Directors of Public Health and Population Health, who work together as the Champs Public Health Collaborative, are also calling for the first smokefree generation in the local area and across the country by 2030.

No Smoking Day, which first started on Ash Wednesday in 1984, returns every year to encourage ex-smokers who are on their quitting journey to keep going, remind current smokers of the range of support available to them, and ensure that non-smokers stay away from the dangerous habit.

Over 5.3 million adults in England are smokers, and the harm caused by smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in England, estimated to account for 64,000 deaths annually. Two in three smokers will die because of long-term smoking[2], with one in four hospital beds in the country currently being occupied by a smoker[3].

Research shows that 83 per cent of smokers start before they are 20 years old[4], and that the earlier someone starts, the more likely they are to smoke in later years[5]. It has also been found that teenagers are nearly three times more likely to smoke if their caregivers or friends do[6].

Dr Sarah McNulty, Director of Public Health for Knowsley, and Lead Director of Public Health for Smokefree Cheshire and Merseyside, said:

“We know that many smokers are desperate to give up for life but find it difficult due to the extremely addictive nature of cigarettes and how hard the tobacco industry works to keep them hooked. However, there has never been a better time to quit, due to the support smokers have available to them, which ranges from dedicated local services to websites and apps. Adult smokers can benefit from using vapes temporarily, as they are designed to be an effective stop smoking tool. Now is the time to quit, it will most likely be the single best thing you will ever do for your health, and you will start the feel the benefits almost immediately.”

As well as being the 40th anniversary of No Smoking Day, 2024 is also set to be the year that will see the introduction of a historic new piece of legislation that will create the first smokefree generation in the United Kingdom. The comes after a commitment from the UK’s Government to achieve Smokefree 2030 targets, in which less than five per cent of the population will be smoking 2030.

This commitment has been championed by Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health and Population Health, who are doing their bit to ensure that the subregion meets this target, working in partnership with local authorities, the NHS and third sector organisations.

Professor Ian Ashworth, Director of Population Health for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said:

“Cheshire and Merseyside’s ambition is to deliver a Smokefree 2030 and a tobacco-free future for every child. Smoking rates in the subregion are slightly below the average for the country, however there is much more we can do to reduce smoking rates. We know that creating a Smokefree Cheshire and Merseyside is one of the very best ways of improving our health and it’s vital we provide every possible opportunity to support smokers to give up for good.”

Smokers who are ready to quit can visit to learn more about the support available to them.

To find out more about the Champs Public Health Collaborative, please visit:

To find out more about NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, please visit: