It is just less than one month until No Smoking Day on Wednesday March 8 with thousands of smokers across Northern Ireland today being urged to stub out their cigarettes and become ‘Proud Quitters’.
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agency (PHA) have teamed up with other organisations – all members of the local No Smoking Day Coordinating Committee - to urge smokers to quit on March 8 by seeking the help of their local stop smoking service.
Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Focus NI, said: “Stopping smoking can be difficult, but help is at hand. Studies have found that smokers are four times more likely to succeed in quitting with help from stop smoking services than if they go it alone.
“Smoking increases the risk of many cancers, heart disease and stroke - stopping is the single best thing you can do for your health and the risk to your overall health decreases significantly soon after you stop.
“There is a range of services across NI that have an excellent track record in helping people to quit. Experienced stop smoking staff provide a friendly, supportive service in a relaxed environment. They’ll help you assess how addicted you are to nicotine, overcome the fear of quitting, cope with cravings, manage stress, avoid weight gain and adjust to a healthier lifestyle.”
Colette Rogers, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement from the PHA said: “We are encouraging smokers to visit their GP, pharmacist or local stop smoking advisor to avail of information and advice on quitting smoking. Getting prepared for your quit attempt is the first step on the journey towards a smoke-free life.
“If you stop for 28 days or more, you are five time times more likely to stop for good. Why not make March 8 the day you start to stop for good?
Five top tips to help you quit smoking:
- Make a date to give up - and stick to it! This year’s No Smoking Day is Wednesday March 8
- Make a plan. Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine-replacement product, and have it ready before the date you plan to stop
- Get support from your local stop smoking service. Also, let your family and friends know that you're quitting. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful.
- Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy cigarettes
- Treat yourself. If you can, use the money you're saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special
“In Northern Ireland there are more than 650 free stop smoking services which are run by specially-trained staff who can advise on the best way to stop smoking. Services are offered in many community pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations, and can be set up in workplaces.”
For more information on the services available and useful tips to stop smoking, visit the PHA’s Want 2 Stop website at www.want2stop.info where you can also order a Quit Kit free of charge which will help you plan your quit attempt.