Make it your New Year’s Resolution to quit smoking
As the New Year approaches, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging people to make a resolution worth keeping – quitting smoking.
The PHA is currently running a mass media campaign to encourage people to stop smoking and highlight the free quit services that are available across Northern Ireland.
Colette Rogers, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control with the PHA, said: “New Year is a time when many people decide to quit smoking, and while some might be able to do it with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the free support services that are available can really help them make the decision permanent.”
Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland, killing around 2,300 people each year.
The PHA commissions over 600 specialist Stop Smoking Services to support smokers with their quit attempt.
Colette added: “Our free services have contributed significantly to the decline in smoking prevalence in Northern Ireland, which currently stands at 18 percent of the adult population. However, we want to see this figure go even lower, both for the benefit of those who smoke and their families.
“Quitting smoking is one of the biggest proactive steps we can take to improve our health and general wellbeing, and longer term it can also help ease the pressure on our health service by reducing smoking-related illness.
“Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking your heart rate drops to a healthier rate. Circulation improves, and your lung function increases between two and 12 weeks afterwards. After one year your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s. After ten years, the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of someone who still smokes.
“Giving up smoking can be tough and different approaches will work for different people.
“We know it is not easy and it can take several attempts for many people to quit for good, but if you are determined you can do it.
“If you have tried to quit before and relapsed, accept it, work out why it happened, and focus on how you can avoid it happening again.”
There are a range of services across Northern Ireland 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 design a stop smoking plan that will work best for you to make this as easy as possible. There are many success stories on our website to inspire you when you are thinking about or have made your decision to quit. Smokers are four times more likely to quit with help from our support services.
Services are offered in many community pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations.
Top tips for giving up smoking
- Make a date to give up – and stick to it!
- 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.
The PHA’s stop smoking website www.stopsmokingni.info has been created with the involvement of smokers and ex-smokers to support people in their quit attempt. The site has information on the benefits of quitting, stop smoking aids, and Stop Smoking Services across Northern Ireland, and you can also order your free Quit Kit to help give you the best chance of success in becoming smoke free.