Figures from the Public Health Agency (PHA) show that across Northern Ireland, a remarkable 33,833 smokers took the first step to a healthier life by availing of ‘stop smoking’ services (April 2010 to the end of March 2011). This is an increase of 44% from the previous year.
There are enormous benefits of having a smoke-free life. Not only will potential quitters benefit from better health for themselves and their families, but they will also have more money to spend on other things. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day will cost the smoker on average £42 a week, or £182 a month, which is approximately £2,190 per year.
Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in Northern Ireland. One in every two smokers die early because of their smoking habit. It is for this reason that the PHA funds a range of services to help people stop smoking and protect non smokers from second hand smoke.
Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health for Northern Ireland, said: “In the past year almost one in every 10 adult smokers in Northern Ireland used our stop smoking services. This is very encouraging and proof to every smoker doubting their ability to quit that it is possible – they too can succeed in quitting because so many others have done so.
I would like to applaud the work of everyone involved in providing stop smoking services – without their hard work, many more people in Northern Ireland would be living with a smoking-related illness. But most importantly, I would like to congratulate everyone who has stopped smoking successfully, or who has taken the first step on the path to a healthier life by deciding to quit.”
Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “There is a lot of help and advice out there for people who want to stop smoking. It’s not easy doing it alone and that is why more and more people are accessing the services available such as getting help with devising a quit plan, accessing top tips and advice and you can also receive a free quit kit at www.want2stop.info
The Minister continued: “There really is no time like the present, don’t leave it till tomorrow. There is help out there and I urge anyone who is toying with the idea of quitting to get in contact with the PHA’s stop smoking services – it really could save your life.
For further information on stop smoking services available in localities across Northern Ireland, phone the Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008 or go to www.want2stop.info
Contact the PHA Press Office on: (028) 9031 1611.
Notes to the editor
1. For further information on stop smoking services available in localities across Northern Ireland, phone the Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008 or go to www.want2stop.info
2. The ‘Quit Kit’ is available from the PHA website www.publichealth.hscni.net
3. There is also a significant increase of 52% in the number of pregnant smokers who have sought support in order to quit.
4. Our recent campaign ‘Things to do before you die’ has also proved a success, spurring more people to quit. To date, we have received approximately 7,200 requests for the ‘Quit Kit’ since our campaign started in January 2011.