Health workers across Bradford and Airedale are encouraging the public to beat a ban on smoking in public places - by quitting.

MPs this month voted overwhelmingly for a total ban on smoking in all pubs, clubs and restaurants.

The ban, which will come into effect next summer, has been lobbied hard for by the Telegraph & Argus, which launched its Clear the Air campaign in November 2004.

Now with the clock ticking down to the ban, the district's stop smoking service is stepping up its efforts to encourage people to quit smoking for good and their campaign, backed by the Department of Health, will promote the benefits of giving up now.

The emphasis of the multi-media campaign will be on the importance of preparing and setting a stress-free quit date and using help and support from the local NHS Stop Smoking Service to keep to it.

Madge Boyle, tobacco programme manager for Bradford District Health Development Partnerships, said: "New legislation proposed by the Government to ban smoking in all enclosed public places including pubs and clubs comes into effect next year and this campaign will be encouraging the public to quit smoking now.

"Giving up smoking is the single best thing that anyone can do to improve their health.

"If you are considering quitting smoking, why wait for the ban? You can start the process now as support is available from your local NHS Stop Smoking Service to help you to quit smoking straight away."

The local NHS Stop Smoking Service in Bradford provides expert advisors who are trained to help smokers who wish to quit.

Smokers are four times more likely to succeed in quitting with this help and support than using will power alone.

Last year, 3,300 people in Bradford quit smoking after receiving help from the Stop Smoking service which is based at Leeds Road Hospital.

It offers confidential help and support in many venues and settings across the Bradford District, including GP surgeries.

This latest campaign will be highlighting the importance of stopping and delivering health messages about stopping smoking.

These include:

l smoking leads to heart disease, strokes and cancer

l it is the main cause of premature death in the UK, killing more than 106,000 people per year

l cigarettes contain 4,000 toxins such as arsenic, ammonia, cyanide, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, which are dangerous to health.

There are also some immediate personal benefits from stopping smoking which include: For someone who smokes 20 cigarettes per day, at an average cost of £4.80 per day, a saving of £1,613 over a 12 month period

Health benefits start within minutes of quitting, with your blood pressure and pulse returning to normal within 20 minutes, and after one hour your hands and feet will feel warmer as your circulation improves.

For free advice and support contact the local NHS Stop Smoking Service on Bradford (01274) 363559.