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'It's never too late' to quit smoking

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Lung specialist Dr Sanjay Agrawal has praised the Leicester Mercury campaign to encourage people to quit smoking.

He believes it could potentially help to save the lives of 300 people.

His message is that it is never too late to stub out those cigarettes.

It comes after day after day he sees patients suffering the effects of the habit.

Dr Agrawal, a consultant in respiratory and intensive care medicine at Leicester's hospitals, said: "Everyone associates smoking with lung cancer but I also see the effects it has on other patients.

"People come into hospital and can't breathe and they are in pain and then there people with pneumonia and asthma and in pain.

"Smoking also causes heart attacks and stroke and macular degeneration.

"It affects people skin and can make conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and acid reflux worse."

He added: "It is never too late to give up smoking.

"Even if they have been smoking for years and years it is not impossible to stop and people should know that they can do it.

"If they stop smoking their symptoms will improve."

For the past year a new scheme has been introduced in which patients who smoke and are admitted to Leicester's hospitals are referred to a Stop smoking advisor.

As well as helping to improve the symptoms of smoking related diseases quitting could make all the difference to patients needing emergency or planned operations.

Dr Agrawal said: "Non-smokers and those who have stopped will heal quicker and they will be less prone to infections while they are in hospital.

"For example, they may be more likely to get pneumonia because their lungs are not as strong."

Dr Agrawal, who is also chairman of the British Thoracic Society's tobacco advisory group, said: "The Stop smoking service in Leicester is one of the best in the country.

"There are medications to help overcome the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms."

He praised the Leicester Mercury campaign to encourage quitters.

Dr Agrawal said: "I think if is fantastic that the Leicester Mercury and Stop smoking service have got together.

"It has the potential to save 300 lives."

'It's never too late' to quit smoking

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