12th January 2023
“As we move into a new year, it’s a great opportunity for people who smoke to reach out to HSE QUIT services for support. If someone has been smoking for many years, taking that first step to being smoke-free can feel huge.” Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Public Health Medicine Lead with the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme. The HSE in recent weeks has launched a new advertising campaign that shows how people who smoke can start to take back control over their addiction in 28 days with help from the QUIT services.
According to Dr Kavanagh,
“while we have made good progress in tackling smoking over the last two decades, smoking continues to cause harm on a huge scale in Ireland. Each week, almost 100 people die and 1,000 people are hospitalised because of smoking-related disease. This is preventable, and stopping smoking remains the single most important thing you can do for your health. Healthy Ireland Survey Continuing, Dr Kavanagh said he was “concerned by recent trends in smoking as reported in the Healthy Ireland Survey which show that reductions in smoking prevalence may have stalled. It’s important we recognise that smoking is an addiction, not a choice. And like any addiction, it can be very hard to overcome and start to take back control without the right support. “As we move into a new year, it’s a great opportunity for people who smoke to reach out to HSE QUIT services for support. If someone has been smoking for many years, taking that first step to being smoke-free can feel huge.” Take back control The HSE is urging people who smoke to make 2023 the year that they ‘take back control’ by quitting smoking. Healthy Ireland surveys repeatedly show that people who smoke are interested in quitting. In 2022, one-in-two of those who smoked in the past year have attempted to quit, and three-in-four were successful in quitting smoking.
Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme
, says: “In developing our new advertising campaign, we listened carefully to people who smoke so we could better understand how we can connect with and support them to quit. They told us about the control smoking has over them and across many aspects of their lives and how their daily routines and habits are set for them by their smoking. People often leave social situations to go outside to smoke. They told us how the costs, about €100 per week, means smoking also has control over their finances. “It’s all too easy to see smoking as an individual choice. However, the reality we are calling out in our new advertising campaign is that smoking is highly addictive and takes control of people’s lives. People who smoke told us they want to take back control. “The HSE Quit services are here to help with support that tackles the addictive nature of smoking. Many people will try to quit cold turkey without any help or support, but nicotine is highly addictive. "You are five times more likely to quit for good if you stop smoking for 28 days. And you further increase your chances of quitting if you get support from the Quit service. Our trained stop-smoking advisors can work with you to create a personalised stop-smoking plan tailored to fit your lifestyle. They can also advise you on Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), doubling your chance of quitting by helping address the physical cravings.” Mathew's story
Mathew O’Donoghue from Tipperary who started smoking at 18 speaks about the control smoking had over him
: “I tried to stop multiple times before but each time it kind of felt like something was holding me back. When I turned 30 though I decided to take a long look at myself and more importantly what my future looked like. I used to be very athletic and into sports, which has significantly declined recently, I knew cigarettes were to blame. “I met my QUIT advisor Susan, who was brilliant. Without putting on any pressure I knew that she would call twice a month and that accountability really made me think twice about having a smoke when I had the urge. Susan provided inhalers, which were fantastic, especially on nights out. I even found that once I got past that original first stage, my body started rejecting the replacements and I’m happy to say I’m off all nicotine now.”