10 Aug 2022

Countdown under way to No Smoking Month - make March your month to quit

quit stop smoking
The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland are calling on local smokers to make March their month to quit. PHA and the cancer charity, which is 50 this year, have teamed up with pharmacy, community and HSC Trust Stop Smoking Service Providers and the local No Smoking Day Coordinating Committee to urge smokers to quit by seeking the help of their local stop smoking service. Brendan Bonner, Assistant Director of Public Health, Health Improvement with the PHA, said: “Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing. You will notice positive health changes and have more money in your pocket. Almost 250,000 people in Northern Ireland have been successful in stopping smoking since 2012 , so we are calling on people to use March as the perfect opportunity to join them and quit the habit. “While we know that stopping smoking can be a challenge, help is at hand. There is 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 quitting as easy as possible. This could include Nicotine Replacement Therapy and other support to cope with cravings and enjoy a healthier lifestyle,” he added. Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Focus NI, said: “We’ve coordinated the annual No Smoking campaign in March for 36 years and know that preparation is key to a successful quit attempt. We’re encouraging smokers to start thinking and preparing now in advance of No Smoking Month, so that when March comes around they will be ready to start their smoke-free lives. “Studies show that smokers can significantly increase their chances of quitting with help from a stop smoking service than if they go it alone. We are encouraging smokers to visit their GP, pharmacist or local stop smoking advisor to avail of free, professional information and advice on quitting smoking. Getting prepared for your quit attempt is the first step on the journey towards a healthier and happier smoke-free life. “Cancer Focus NI is one of many organisations that provide a wide range of free stop smoking support services. There are more than 600 PHA-funded services run by specially-trained staff in community pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations and workplaces. “We urge smokers to use these free services and make No Smoking Month the start of their smoke-free future.” Five top tips to help you quit 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.

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