BARNSLEY Council has joined local health bosses in launching a new campaign to make residents aware of the impact smoking has on mental health.

The new ‘Smokefree Starts’ campaign aims to help everyone understand the impact smoking has on your mental health and encourage smokers to give quitting a go.

Tobacco remains one of the most preventable causes of ill health, disability and death, with at least 16,000 hospital admissions every year in South Yorkshire due to smoking

The council say that societal norms have reinforced the mistaken belief that smoking helps to manage levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Coun Wendy Cain, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, said: “In Barnsley, we want to make sure everyone can get the right support to live happier, healthier, longer lives.

“It’s great to see Smokefree Starts being launched across South Yorkshire, shining a light on the many benefits quitting smoking can have on your mood and mental wellbeing.

“Working together with health colleagues across the region, we hope this campaign starts more conversations about not only smoking and mental health but also the support that’s available to help you on your quitting journey.

“If you’ve been thinking about giving up smoking, please speak to NHS Yorkshire Smokefree Barnsley to find out how they can help you.”

David Crichton, medical director of NHS South Yorkshire, added: “As smoking prevalence is significantly higher in people with mental health conditions, it is crucial that smokers, their family members and friends begin to understand the impact smoking can have on mental wellbeing.

“Smokers with these conditions should know that stopping smoking doesn’t have to be stressful.

“It is easier to stop with the right support, and we have the expertise to get them through it.

“Addressing misconceptions and increasing awareness of the link between smoking and mental health among healthcare professionals is also imperative, and we need to be having more conversations with smokers about these impacts.”