PHA raising awareness of Stop Smoking Services on World No Tobacco Day

Stop Smoking Service

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is using World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness about free Stop Smoking Services available in communities across Northern Ireland.

The network of free services offer tailored advice and support to help you quit for good.

Promoting the range of services available, Séamus Mullen, the PHA’s Health Improvement strategic lead on smoking, said: “Quitting smoking is one of the proactive steps you can take to improve your health and general wellbeing, with benefits also for your finances and general appearance.

“Smoking cessation services are a major building block under the Public Health Framework, Making Life Better strategy, enabling people to make healthier choices so as to empower healthier living. 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. While some people can quit with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the Stop Smoking Services that are available can really help them make the decision permanent.

Acknowledging the challenge to quit smokers face, Séamus added: “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. You are four times more likely to quit with the help from our support service.”

Services are offered in many community pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations, and can be set up in workplaces.

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  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.

The website has an interactive map to locate services.