TOBACCO addiction is the biggest cause of preventable death, disability and illness, alarming figures have revealed.

Smoking causes 16 different forms of cancer and damages every organ in the body.

Yet more than one in five adults in Winsford and many pregnant women are still addicted, causing one of the highest rates of smoking in Cheshire West.

Winsford GP Dr Jonathan Griffiths believes most smokers want to quit - but can't.

Now he is inviting people who live and work in Winsford to come up with innovative and creative ways to tackle nicotine addiction.

A Stop Smoking Summit is being held on Thursday, October 17 at Winsford Academy.

Anyone can drop in anytime between 10am and 9pm to share their ideas.

Smokers who have quit are invited to share their experiences of how they succeeded and people who have tried in vain to give up can also come along and talk about their difficulties.

Non smokers can also take part and contribute suggestions.

"Smoking is so effective as an addictive agent it makes you feel good, gives you a bit of a buzz and relaxes you," said Dr Griffiths, a GP at Swanlow Surgery and chairman of NHS Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Group.

Winsford Guardian:

Swanlow Surgery GP Dr John Griffiths is encouraging people to come up with ideas to help smokers to quit

"Before you know it, you're hooked. If you smoke on a daily basis then you are more than likely addicted. That is what nicotine does.

"I would like people to stop smoking. Not because I am a killjoy or want to control what they do but because I want the best for them.

"Smoking will not be doing people any good at all. I have not come across a smoker yet who doesn't know this and the vast majority would prefer that they were not a smoker.

"Many have tried and failed or succeeded for a while before starting smoking again. We want to tackle this not just from the medical perspective but open up the question and ask the community how does Winsford stop smoking?"

The interactive summit will be open for 11 hours to give as many people as possible the chance to join in.

"We want people from as many businesses and companies across Winsford to take part from Asda, Morrisons, Tiger Trailers and the salt mine to Cheshire Police and Fire and Rescue Service," said Dr Griffiths. "We all invest in this town and want people to have the best life and health outcomes as they can.

"The idea is to encourage people to come along, share their thoughts and turn them into little projects to run with during the day. Rather than just having a lot of talking we want to try and solve problems and see how we could put these suggestions into action.

"It is fantastic that the summit is being held in a school so that we can hear young people's thoughts on smoking.

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It is never too late to quit smoking, the GP stressed.

"Once you stop smoking you will notice a change in your pulse within minutes and your breathing will become easier within 72 hours," said Dr Griffiths. "It can make a difference straightaway.

"Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.

"Together, let's see if we can make Winsford a smoke-free town."

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