Make March your month to quit smoking

NSM 22

No Smoking Month is just around the corner and the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland are urging people to ‘Make March Your Month to Quit’.

Colette Rogers, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control with the PHA, said: “We are encouraging people to use No Smoking Month as an opportunity to begin their quit journey and improve their health.

“With the recent introduction of new legislation to protect children from second hand smoke in cars, maybe you’ve already been thinking about trying to quit. No Smoking Month could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to set a quit date and quit for good.

“There is lots of support available throughout Northern Ireland for those who want to quit. We know quitting isn’t easy and it can often take several attempts to be successful, so if you have tried previously, please don’t be discouraged from trying again.”

A range of services that can help and support people to quit are offered through many community pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, community and voluntary organisations and by Cancer Focus NI.

Naomi Thompson, Health Improvement Manager at Cancer Focus NI, said that quitting smoking is the most important thing you could do to improve your health.

“Studies have shown that you are four times more likely to quit with help,” Naomi said.

“Although we would encourage any smoker who is ready to quit this March, you can pick a date at any time of the year. We can help support you with lots of tried and tested tips to make quitting that bit easier. We will look at coping with cravings, managing stress, avoiding weight gain and developing a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to do this alone.”

In light of the current pandemic, measures have been put in place to ensure access to PHA-funded Stop Smoking Services while still following public health guidelines. This includes telephone contact or video calls as opposed to face-to-face support. These measures will ensure you can still access Stop Smoking Services in a way which is convenient, safe and easy for you.

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 plan alternative activities for places you associate with smoking) 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.

No Smoking Month is coordinated in Northern Ireland by Cancer Focus NI and includes a partnership with the Department of Health, the PHA, the Healthy Living Centres Alliance, Health and Social Care Trusts, and local councils.

For more information on the services available and useful tips to stop smoking, visit  or the PHA’s  website.