SOUTH Yorkshire is bucking the trend when it comes to giving help to people wanting to quit smoking.
More people in the county are giving up than at any point in the last five years.
And at the heart of that success is the quality and amount of help given to people who say they need support.
Last year 3,775 people gave up smoking after accessing NHS services.
There are still 90,000 smokers in the county, with 900 people dying from smoking-related illnesses every year.
We are not pontificating and telling people they should quit - that is for individuals to make up their own minds.
But what we are saying is that if you do make that decision then accessing the help that is on offer will substantially increase the chances of you succeeding.
The cost to the local economy from smoking is huge. So it is well worth the investment by the NHS in giving support to those who want to give up smoking.
Raising awareness is key to that success, with more than 100 branches of the Stop Smoking service now set up in GP surgeries and pharmacies.
So if you decide to take the step, take advantage of the services on offer.
At last we are making progress
IT is not only students, parents and teachers who will be delighted with the A-level results that were published yesterday.
The education authority will also be breathing a sigh of relief as the improved results have outperformed those in the rest of the country.
At last we appear to be making progress against other regions and seeing the general standard of acheivement improve.
Across the country 26.6 per cent of exam entries achieved an A or A*, down from 27 per cent last year, compared with an anticipated increase in Sheffield.
Let us hope those figures stack up and the hard work that has gone in to raising standards in our schools will see us continue to make progress up the ladder of achievement.
Golden day for Jess
TODAY the city of Sheffield will turn out in gold to show their support and welcome back their golden hero Jessica Ennis.
Jess has been in a whirlwind of publicity since clinching heptathlon glory in London, and now it is our turn to show her our support. It will be a golden day for a golden girl.