A QUARTER of smokers in Swindon and Wiltshire fear they will not live long enough to support those closest to them in times of need, new research has revealed ahead of tomorrow’s national No Smoking Day.

In a survey of more than 1,000 people across the South West, around 27 per cent of smokers in Swindon and Wiltshire expressed fears they would not be present for their family and friends as a result of the lethal habit.

The same number were worried they would miss out on major celebrations and family milestones such as the births of children and grandchildren.

The research carried out by Smokefree South West also showed high levels of anxiety among relatives with 46 per cent admitting they were concerned about the regret their loved one would feel at the prospect of having their life cut short as a result of smoking.

An estimated 98,810 adults smoke in Swindon and Wiltshire with around 910 predicted to die of smoking-related diseases.

This Is Wiltshire:

Left, Panusha Patel, pharmacist at the GWH Boots store, kneeling is Tanya Seltee, a volunteer stop smoking advisor at GWH. Behind her is Stephanie Taylor, cardiac specialist nurse and stop smoking champion at GWH, Mr Ciggie! and Grace Wiles, from the Swindon Borough Council health ambassador team

To curb this alarming trend and encourage residents to give up tobacco on No Smoking Day, former chain smokers such as Nick Sheppard, of Walcot, want to show that quitting is achievable and also the only healthy choice.

The 47-year-old gave up tobacco after more than three decades in 2012 and has since become a stop smoking adviser. “I quit smoking after 35 years,” he said.

“My main reason was worries about health. I had a motorbike accident in 1998 which causes lung problems, and along with asthma I was finding it hard to breathe. I was functioning on 1¼ lungs.

“I am a volunteer for the drug treatment agency and my work involves trying to get people to break the cycle of addiction so it felt hypocritical if I was rushing off for a cigarette every five minutes. I felt inspired that I should make the change to escape my own addiction to nicotine.”

Once he had made the decision to quit, Nick contacted his local Stop Smoking Service at Park Lane Surgery in Swindon.

“Steph at the surgery was absolutely fantastic, she gave me the right tools to quit and I always knew that she would be available if I needed support.

“ I now work for SEQOL as a stop smoking adviser so I have first-hand experience of what it’s like to give up which helps.

“Life is a lot better now. I feel that my life is much cleaner and healthier and I don’t have to use inhalers at the moment.

“I am much more active and can enjoy getting out and about.”

Nick joined the estimated 32,000 people in the South West who gave up smoking last year using the free NHS Stop Smoking Service.

For more visit www.bethere tomorrow.co.uk or call Swindon Stop Smoking service by calling 0800 3892229 or 01793 465513, texting 07881281797 or emailing besmokefree @ seqol.org.