East Ayrshire has been named in a list of the UK’s highest areas for smoking-related deaths.

Research carried out by Now Patient revealed the UK locations with the highest smoking-related death rates per 100,000 residents.

Seven of the worst 10 areas were in Scotland, with East Ayrshire ranked ninth.

The area has had 382 smoking-related deaths in the two-year period covered in the study.

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Glasgow City topped the lost with 509 deaths in that time.

Getting people to stop smoking was something that was highlighted by Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP, Elena Whitham for National No Smoking Day.

The MSP is supporting ASH Scotland’s ‘Quit and Win’ campaign, which is highlighting that giving up smoking brings health benefits such as decreasing the risks of coronary heart disease and lung cancer, after one year and 10 years respectively, by about 50% compared to people who continue to smoke tobacco.

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Ms Whitham said: “I am pleased to be supporting ASH Scotland’s ‘Quit and Win’ campaign and urge my constituents in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley who smoke to reach out to local Quit Your Way services which provide free support and can help develop a personalised quit plan.

“The charity has advised me that two thirds of adults in Scotland who smoke say they wish they had never started so what better time than now to make a fresh start by deciding to quit?

“And this is a matter which chimes so very closely with my own family’s experience. My dear mum Irene was diagnosed with lung cancer at the young age of 58 years.

“My mum told me of how she started smoking when she was 14 years old and of her deep regret at not giving up cigarettes until she received her terminal cancer diagnosis.

“If you’ve tried to give up before, please do not be discouraged as it can take a number of attempts – and it will be the best thing you can do for your health, finances, as well as your friends and family.”

For help quitting, call 0800 848484 or create a quit plan at www.quityourway.scot.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, added: “Tobacco is a major cause of inequalities, and it is more important than ever that people in Ayrshire and Arran facing everyday stresses during the cost of living crisis are empowered to access expert smoking cessation support that is freely available from the NHS.

“Quit Your Way Scotland, local stop smoking services and community pharmacies provide free support which can help you to develop a personalised plan and, on No Smoking Day, we are encouraging people in Ayrshire and Arran to begin taking vital steps towards a much healthier future by stopping smoking for good.”