Employers in North Wales are being urged to join the battle to bring smoking rates down this No Smoking Day (March 12th) by offering more workplace support to help their staff to quit.

ASH Wales' Quit for Wales campaign has been calling on all businesses across Wales to offer quit smoking support for staff because workplaces can be supportive environments for smokers to quit. Many employers have already introduced ‘buddy’ systems, trained staff to become advisers themselves, or arranged quit smoking sessions during break times to help people give up.

Over 30% of people in routine and manual professions currently smoke.

ASH Wales and its youth project The Filter will be at Bangor University on Wednesday March 12th to promote No Smoking Day. As one of North Wales’s largest employers with 1,800 staff and 11,000 students Bangor University is keen to provide support to staff and students who want to give up smoking.

More than 110 workplaces now feature on ASH Wales’ Quit for Wales map including Kellogg’s in Wrexham, Stena Line in Holyhead and Iceland supermarket chain based on Deeside.

“Workplaces in Wales have a vital role to play in bringing smoking rates down and have the potential to be really supportive environments to help people quit. It not only benefits workers’ health but also the companies themselves in terms of reducing the time and money lost through smoking breaks and sickness absence due to smoking-related illness.

“More than double the capacity of the Millennium Stadium need to quit if we are to reach the Welsh Government’s target of reducing smoking rates from 23% to 16% by 2020. That’s a big challenge but we know that 70% of smokers say they want to give up smoking so we need to provide the support they need in the community and in the workplace, not just in the health service, to help people do it.”

Elen de Lacy, Chief Executive of ASH Wales