The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging all local smokers to support ‘Stoptober’ – a Department of Health campaign running in England to encourage smokers to go smoke-free during the month of October.
The campaign seeks to encourage as many smokers as possible to attempt to go smokefree for 28-days throughout October as they are five times more likely to stay smokefree if they successfully make it through the first four weeks of their quit attempt.
Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, premature death and health inequality throughout Northern Ireland with around 2,300 people dying prematurely each year from smoking-related illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke and many cancers.
Many of the 340,000 smokers in Northern Ireland aged 16 and over would really like to give up and the clear message to them is: if you are finding it hard to quit alone - don’t - as help is available.
Gerry Bleakney, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement, PHA, said: “Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health, however it is not easy and different approaches will work for different people. While some people might be able to do it with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the Stop Smoking Support Services that are available can really help them make the decision permanent.
“The free stop smoking Quit Kit is a great tool to help people who are thinking about planning their quit attempt. You can also ring the free Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008 for help on planning to stop smoking or to find out where your nearest Stop Smoking Service is. There are currently over 600 services across Northern Ireland in pharmacies, GP surgeries, hospitals, communities and workplaces.”
“If you quit and then relapse, accept it, work out why it happened, and focus on how you can avoid it in the future. It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good, but if you are determined, you will do it. Last year over 39,000 people decided to stop using the PHA’s Stop Smoking Services and many others did so, on their own. ‘Be prepared’ is the motto for success.” Gerry added.
Contact the PHA Communications Office on 028 90553663.
Notes to the editor
Stoptober is a mass participation stop smoking attempt, launched by the Department of Health in England. The campaign seeks to encourage as many smokers as possible to attempt to go smokefree for 28-days throughout October.
Stoptober will provide a range of free advice and support throughout people’s stop smoking attempt, and is based on research that smokers are five times more likely to stay smokefree if they successfully make it through the first four weeks.