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Smoking levels among manual workers remain high across Mid-Ulster with 31 per cent in Northern Ireland using cigarettes.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging businesses in Cookstown and Magherafelt to avail of the ‘Workplace Stop Smoking Service’ which has been set up by the PHA to provide free assistance for employers to help reduce smoking rates among their workforce.

Gerry Bleakney, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control with the PHA, said smoking remains the principal cause of health inequality in Northern Ireland.

“The results of the Northern Ireland Health Survey show that one in four adults smoke in Northern Ireland, but this figure is closer to one in three for those working in manual occupations,” he said.

He said the Workplace Stop Smoking Service is flexible and adaptable to suit the needs of employees and employers.

It can offer a range of options including information sessions, a specialist stop-smoking service that offers weekly support between six and 12 weeks and the opportunity for workplace champions to become trained as in-house stop-smoking specialists.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Workplace Stop Smoking Service, visit the PHA’s ‘Want 2 Stop’ website at www.want2stop.info for more information and for details of how to contact your local stop-smoking specialist service.