No Smoking Day is an annual health awareness day in the United Kingdom that is intended to help smokers who want to quit smoking. The first No Smoking Day was on Ash Wednesday in 1984, and it now takes place on the second Wednesday in March.
Each year, the campaign is promoted with a theme in the form of a short phrase. In 2010, this theme was "Break free", encouraging smokers to break free from the chains of cigarettes and quit on No Smoking Day. The visual, a pair of hands breaking a chain of cigarettes empowers smokers to quit the addiction and make a positive change. The 2011 theme is "Time to quit?".
Research conducted by GfK NOP following the 2009 campaign found that 1 in 10 smokers quit on No Smoking Day.
The campaign is run by a charity of the same name, which is based in London and has four full-time staff. It is funded by a coalition of governmental and voluntary sector organisations with an interest in health.
No Smoking Day's President is entrepreneur, TV personality, and anti-tobacco campaigner Duncan Bannatyne OBE. Bannatyne, an ex smoker who famously took on British American Tobacco at its AGM in April 2008, supports the charity by being the celebrity spokesperson for the campaign as well as encouraging the public and other celebrities to participate. Bannatyne, who has vowed to suspend his children's trust funds if he finds them smoking commented: "My views on smoking are well known. I feel that No Smoking Day is the perfect vehicle to push the smokefree message in a non judgemental way - I'm proud to be a supporter."
The British Dental Association (BDA) has given its backing to No Smoking Day 2009. The organisers of the day, which takes place on 11 March, work closely with local stop smoking services to organise events to help smokers quit and promote the health benefits and financial gains of giving up.
Professor Damien Walmsley, Scientific Adviser to the BDA, said: "Smoking has a significant negative impact on oral health. It can discolour teeth, contribute to bad breath and cause gum disease. Even more seriously, along with heavy consumption of alcohol, tobacco use is a risk factor for oral cancer, a potentially fatal and disfiguring condition.
"Dentists see the effects of smoking first hand and can play an important role in helping those who wish to quit do so. The BDA shares No Smoking Day's vision of reducing tobacco-related illness and death, and is pleased to lend its support to this valuable campaign."