The Scotland that we live in today is very different from the one that existed just eight years ago, before the smoking ban.
The once familiar smoke-filled bars and restaurants that left your clothes stinking the next morning – and damaged the health of their staff – have been consigned to history.
Far more importantly, the ban has helped create an environment where far more people are kicking the habit than ever before.
And the benefits of that are tremendous and wide-ranging, including a big drop in the number of children being admitted to hospital with asthma attacks, fewer people suffering heart attacks and less babies being born prematurely.
Ditching the fags is the biggest single step that any smoker can take to improve their health. It’s never too late to gain the benefits and you start reaping them the minute you stop lighting up.
For many of us, it can mean the difference between being around to see our grandchildren grow up, or not.
That is why the Evening News has joined forces with NHS Lothian and Community Pharmacy Scotland to launch the Smoke Free Lothian campaign.
Our aim is simple – to help as many people as possible to quit in the coming months.
We know that around three-quarters of smokers want to pack it in, but many need a little help to take that first step – and to continue when the temptation gets too much.
Over the coming days, weeks and months, we will be bringing you details of the wide range of support services available for free in the Lothians, as well as success stories, hints and tips to inspire you if you are considering giving up. We’re in it for the long haul and we hope that you are, too.
Together, we can help to make the Lothians smoke free one step at a time – and create an even better Scotland for our children and grandchildren.