Hundreds of people across Donegal will attempt to kick a habit today.
This is Ash Wednesday which is National No Smoking Day, traditionally a day when people who smoke quit.
The HSE’s QUIT service has found that many smokers plan on following this tradition and has some top tips for people who want to ditch the smokes for good.
One in two people who smoke will die from a smoking related illness.
Elaine Robinson, Smoking Cessation Clinical Nurse Specialist at Letterkenny University Hospital said, “It makes sense that health concerns are the main reason why many people choose to quit. We all know that smoking is incredibly harmful to your health. Sadly, this week alone, over 100 people will die as result of smoking, and over 1,000 people will be hospitalised because of disease caused by their smoking."
Martina Blake, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Lead said, “We asked our ‘You Can QUIT’ Facebook community if Ash Wednesday is still an important day to quit and 72% of people said it was. Setting a date to quit at any time of the year and making a plan to prepare gets you off to a great start. National No Smoking Day is a perfect opportunity to quit or make a plan to quit, especially for people who may have given up smoking for the New Year but had a setback.
“Quitting smoking is a process – most people who quit successfully do so after several attempts, so please don’t give up on trying to quit for good, it is definitely worth the effort. You will save money, feel better almost immediately – and most importantly, you will avoid the very real risk of serious, long-term and life-threatening illnesses.
“Our message to people planning a QUIT attempt is not to go it alone and to use all the free professional help available to them. Sign up to an online QUIT plan at Quit.ie or freephone 1800 201 203 to receive information about what support services are available to you over the phone our in your local area.
“Using a support service like ours makes you twice as likely to succeed. Using nicotine replacement therapy or Champix as well as our service makes you for times more likely to be successful.
“If you or a loved one is thinking of quitting, our Facebook Community is also a great source of support. There are 100,000 people who support each other to quit and you ask the QUIT team for advice and support.”
Concerns about health are the top motivator for smokers to quit. Six in 10 smokers who tried to quit in 2018 reported concerns about their health as their main reason for making a quit attempt.
Ms. Robinson added: “Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health. The good news is that the benefits of quitting are immediate. Within just 1 day, your risk of heart attack begins to fall and after 1 year your risk of heart attack is cut in half.
“It’s really encouraging that there are more quitters than smokers in Ireland. There are lots of things you can do to increase your chances of success and join them. The HSE’s QUIT team has helped thousands of people quit smoking and has advice for anyone who wants to quit on National No Smoking Day.
“If you are looking for advice on quitting smoking today, please drop in to see me in the front hallway of Letterkenny University Hospital between 1pm and 4pm.”
The QUIT Team’s top 5 tips to quit for good:
- Think of the reasons why you want to quit and write them down to motivate you.
- Set a date to quit and stick to it.
- Don’t go it alone. Using a stop smoking service like the HSE’s QUIT service doubles your chances of success. The QUIT service is free to use and provides a quit plan tailored to your needs.
- Use a Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) like patches, gum or an inhaler to help manage your cravings. Nicotine is the ingredient in cigarettes that makes them addictive. There are lots of different options available and the QUIT Team can you help you decide which option will work best for you.
- Manage your cravings. Cravings for nicotine can start 30 minutes after your last cigarette. The cravings usually pass after 3 to 5 minutes. Deal with them by using the ‘4 Ds’: 1. Delay at least 3 – 5 minutes and the urge will pass; 2. Drinka glass of water or fruit juice; 3. Distract yourself, move away from the situation; and 4. Deep breathe – breathe slowly and deeply.
Getting the right help and support will double your chances of success. You can sign up at QUIT.ie for daily emails or SMS support to help you keep track once you have set up your own personalised QUITplan.
The QUIT Team is standing by to help you:
If you prefer to meet someone face to face where you can have your carbon monoxide levels assessed (the gas that displaces oxygen in your blood when you smoke); check out the local clinics on Quit.ie.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.