A NEW virtual support programme has been launched to help smokers in the region quit the habit.

The initiative – funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and delivered by NHS specialists ­– offers 12 weeks of free personalised help, including video or phone calls and free nicotine replacement therapies or e-cigarettes.

Dr Kathryn Scott, for Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Lots of people wish to stop smoking, but they’re not sure where to start. We want people to know they don’t have to go it alone.

“Evidence shows that people are much more likely to quit for good with professional support. Our unique service is here to provide an extra helping hand and give people the best possible chance of success.”

She says Yorkshire has the highest smoking rate in the country.

And each year about 4,500 new cases of cancer in the region are linked to smoking – representing 15 per cent of all cancers diagnosed.

New evidence also shows that smokers are more at risk of developing life-threatening complications from Covid-19.

Dr Scott added: “There’s never been a better time to quit smoking. It remains the very best thing you can do for your long-term health and the health of those around you.”

To register interest in the stop-smoking support programme, visit bit.ly/YorkshireStopSmoking.