Smokefree South West is calling on smokers in Wiltshire to quit smoking this autumn to save money for Christmas.

Consumers spend around £450 per year on Christmas and the latest report from ASH suggests that quitting can save the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year, so kicking the habit could make a significant contribution towards having a happy Christmas.

In Wiltshire an estimated 64,000 adults are smokers and from now until the end of the festive season, they will be balancing the cost of their habit with buying presents and Christmas food for their families to enjoy.

Since Smokefree South West was set up five years ago to help drive down smoking rates across the region, 64.2 million fewer cigarettes have been smoked across Wiltshire, which is an estimated saving of a staggering £21.5 million on cigarettes in the county across the five years, amounting to £11,780 per day.

Fiona Andrews, director of Smokefree South West, said: “Everyone looks forward to spending quality time with friends and family over Christmas, but it doesn’t come cheap.

"People are still feeling the effects of the recession but their children will expect top presents and a roast with all the trimmings so something has got to give.

“Smoking is certainly an expensive habit to have, and stopping smoking in the months leading up to Christmas could make all the difference to the family budget.

“Not only will it help towards the cost of Christmas, but it will also help children and families to stay fit and healthy.”

Those thinking of quitting can find excellent free support and advice from their local stop smoking service and if they stop now will enjoy the benefits of four weeks of not smoking before Christmas.

Ms Andrews added: “Christmas is a time when families spend quality time together, but this increases the chance that children may be exposed to passive smoking, so our message is if you do smoke, to take it outside to protect your family.

“Over 80% of second-hand smoke is invisible, and every day millions of children in the UK are still exposed to smoke which puts them at risk of health problems.

“The only way to completely protect loved ones is to make homes and cars entirely smokefree and increasingly numbers of smokers across the South West have done just that.”