MORE than 1,000 Hyndburn smokers have kicked the habit over the past year as the deadline day looms for restaurants and pubs to become smoke-free.
From 1 July it will be against the law to smoke in public places such as shops and cafes. Anyone found smoking could face an on-the-spot fine and the owner of the premises could also be issued with a fine for allowing the offender to flout the law.
East Lancashire Primary Care Trust (PCT) community health workers are expecting even more people to ditch the fags for good over the next few weeks.
The Trust, which runs the Stop Smoking service across East Lancashire, has reported a daily increase in the number of people choosing to quit smoking before the smoke-free law comes into effect.
In Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, 1,137 people officially kicked the habit, taking the total East Lancashire figure to more than 4,600.
PCT Stop Smoking co-ordinator Christine Donnelly said: "We are really pleased with the number of people stopping smoking and the percentage of success among those trying to do so has risen by 20 per cent over recent months.
"We think this reflects the fact that it will soon be against the law to smoke in public places like pubs and restaurants and this has concentrated people's minds.
"We know from research that at least 75 per cent of smokers want to give up anyway, irrespective of legislation, but they have been given an extra incentive by the smoke-free laws coming into play."
In Ireland, where the legislation was brought in three years ago, research has shown that air pollution in pubs has been reduced by 83 per cent with an 80 per cent reduction in cancer-causing agents.
For more information on the Hyndburn Stop Smoking service ring 358095.