A North Ayrshire councillor who successfully completed his own journey to a tobacco-free life is backing a health charity’s national No Smoking Day campaign.

Councillor Todd Ferguson is urging constituents who smoke to make attempts to give up and win with their health and fitness, family and finances.

He is supporting ASH Scotland’s ‘Quit and win’ campaign, which is highlighting that giving up smoking increases opportunities to live a healthier life.

People who give up can half the risk of developing lung, mouth, throat, pancreas, bladder, oesophagus and larynx cancer after five to 10 years of being tobacco-free.

The charity also advises that an average smoker who gives up tobacco on No Smoking Day, which takes place on Wednesday, March 13, would save more than £3,000 within 12 months.

Councillor Ferguson, who represents the North Coast ward, said: “I had bronchial issues as a child which were exacerbated when, as a teenager, I started to smoke as I thought it would be cool to be like many of my friends.

"I smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day from very early on and it’d increase to upwards of 30 cigarettes when I went on nights out.

“I made several attempts using various methods over the years to give up smoking, but lasted only six months at most.

"In the end, I finally succeeded with the use of a nicotine patch for a few days and then sheer self-determination.

“I feel good since I stopped smoking. I am still prone to bronchial episodes, but they are nowhere near as bad as when I was smoking and I’ve become more physically active.

"The amount of money you can save by giving up cigarettes is incredible. I was spending £60 to £70 at the point I quit.

"With the money I have saved from not smoking, I have been able to go on overseas holidays as well as buy treats for friends and family.

“I am pleased to be supporting ASH Scotland’s ‘Quit and win’ campaign and urge anyone who is thinking about giving up smoking to do it and don’t look back.

"If you want to truly stop, you can. I am living proof that it is possible. I only wish I had been able to do so years ago.”

Anyone who has the goal of giving up smoking is advised to contact visit at QuitYourWay.scot or call the free helpline on 0800 848484.