IT was the threat of coronavirus that finally made Marion Young quit smoking after 55 years of addiction.

Now the great-grandmother is urging others to stop the habit and make sure they don't overburden the NHS as medics cope with the Covid-19 crisis.

Marion was also motivated by wanting to be around for her great-children for a long time to come.

She said: “Initially I was thinking about covid and the horror of it that set me thinking it was time to quit smoking.

"I felt bad that my smoking addiction could add to the burden of the already overworked, overburdened NHS.

“It was coming up to my wee great granddaughter Oswyn's birthday, and since I want to be around to see and enjoy her and her wee brother Ezra for a long time to come, I chose Oswyn's birthday as the day I would stop smoking."

Marion is telling her story ahead of No Smoking Day 2021, on Wednesday, and of how she was supported by NHS Lanarkshire's free Quit Your Way service.

She added: "I called the Quit Your Way helpline for advice.

“I feel very lucky and thankful to have this brilliant support structure so I’m very glad I made that phone call and I'm now using the savings to buy things for my garden.

"If I can do it after 55 years of smoking, it's not too late for anyone else.

"With the patches delivered direct to me, weekly follow ups from NHS Lanarkshire Quit Your Way staff, and the security of knowing I have a number to call anytime I might struggle, I'm confident I am facing a smoke free and healthier future.”

NHS Lanarkshire is running a joint campaign with ASH Scotland, focusing on encouraging residents to seek support and advice when they’re ready to quit smoking.

Shirley Mitchell, Tobacco Control Programme Manager at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “National No Smoking Day is often a time when people who smoke decide to make a dedicated decision to give up. This year, we appreciate that circumstances may mean it’s been even harder to quit, and we wanted to celebrate those who have stopped smoking during lockdown.

“Trying to quit smoking at this time may feel overwhelming, but help and support tailored to each person’s needs is available to help them to stop smoking through Quit Your Way Lanarkshire, even during lockdown.”

People who smoke are more likely to get more serious symptoms if they catch coronavirus.

Smoking is known to cause or considerably worsen breathing problems, including asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

It can also harm the immune system and heart.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, added: “This past year has been challenging for everyone and people are coping as best they can.

"For some people, that means smoking more than they normally would, which could be adding to their stress.

"We know that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your physical health but it also improves your mental wellbeing.

"If you’ve been thinking about quitting, No Smoking Day might just be the perfect reason.

"With the help of smoking cessation services, many people have stopped smoking since the start of the pandemic and you can too."

Quit Your Way is a free NHS stop smoking service.

To find out more about the stop smoking services and to access the best support to quit in your area, call the Quit Your Way helpline service on 0800 84 84 84 or visit

Quit Your Way can be contacted Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm.