Take #TheLastStop no smoking challenge this October

HSE Press Release: Thursday, 30 September 2021

- Stop smoking for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to quit for good

- Using the HSE QUIT service and medication is the best way to quit - see QUIT.ie

The HSE is inviting people who smoke to take the 28-day no smoking challenge this October and join thousands of others who have already used the HSE QUIT service to quit smoking in 2021. Quitting smoking for 28-days with the support of the QUIT team means you’re 5 times more likely to quit for good.

About one in five Irish adults smoke daily and many more describe themselves as occasional or ‘social’ smokers. Many people changed their smoking habits during the pandemic, with some people who smoke socially finding it easier not to smoke due to COVID-19 restrictions. Others either restarted or increased the amount they smoke as a response to extra stress and other common triggers.

Dr Paul Kavanagh, National Public Health Advisor, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, said today: “As we move with hope into a new phase of the pandemic, it’s a great time to make changes that can benefit your health long-term.  For some people who smoke, the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions might mean they have returned to socialising or other activities where they find it difficult to avoid smoking. We know that the stress of the pandemic made it harder for some people to stop smoking and they may even have found their habit has intensified over the last 18 months. Whatever your experience, it’s always a good time to stop smoking and take that powerful positive step for your health, so join us in October, take the challenge and enter a new smoke-free phase of your life. With our support we can help you plan alternative ways of managing stress without smoking.”

Eimear Tynan, a hairdresser from Cork, found she had more time to smoke when she could not work due to the COVID-19 restrictions. She is now 16 weeks smoke free thanks to a combination of support from the QUIT service and nicotine replacement therapy. Eimear says: “When I was unemployed, I started smoking during the day, something I never did before because I was too busy in work. I was worried about money, my family and I had more free time so I turned to cigarettes. Then, in April, I had a health scare so my doctor told me I had to quit smoking. I contacted the HSE QUIT team and got the support and advice I needed to help me quit. I feel much fitter, healthier and I am financially a lot more comfortable.”

One in every two smokers will die from a tobacco related disease – with almost 6,000 people dying from the effects of smoking in Ireland every year.  The HSE QUIT service is led by experienced advisors, who are ready to provide individualised support that is proven to work. You don’t have to be a regular smoker to use the QUIT service. The HSE team of stop smoking advisors is there to help anyone who smokes daily or less regularly to quit for good.

Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, offers this advice: “Some people have used smoking in the past to connect or feel comfortable in social situations. Because of the harm that smoking brings to our health, whether you are a regular, occasional, or social smoker, it is always the right time to try to quit smoking. We can help you come up with a plan that will help you navigate the challenges and help you quit for good.”

Free, personalised support for anyone who wants to quit is available through the HSE’s Quit Service. There are a number of ways the HSE QUIT team can help you to quit. We can:

  • Send a free Quit Kit to your home to help you prepare
  • Send regular supportive emails or text messages
  • Provide regular supportive phone calls from the HSE QUIT team
  • Give advice on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and stop smoking medication
  • Provide an online personalised Quit plan where you can track your progress
  • Get one to one support from a Stop Smoking Advisor
  • Share daily tips and support from people who have quit and are trying to quit on the ‘You Can Quit’ Facebook page.

The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS and live chat.  Freephone 1800 201 203 or visit www.QUIT.ie for stop smoking tips and resources. Order a free QUIT Kit, create a QUIT Plan or read other people’s stories.

Peer-to-peer support is available on the QUIT Facebook Page www.facebook.com/HSEQUIT or on Twitter @HSEQuitTeam #TheLastStop #QuitandWin


Last updated on: 30 / 09 / 2021