Promoting a tobacco free society

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HSE’s QUIT campaign moves to new phase, with a growing army of supporters and success stories

The HSE's QUIT Campaign enters its second phase today, with TV and radio advertising aiming to encourage more and more smokers to turn their lives around, and QUIT. Early results for the campaign, which began in June, show exciting and positive responses with many choosing to get help and support for their Quit attempt online.

There has been a 500% increase in people signing up to the online Quitplan, which supports and guides people through the quitting process and is available on quit.ie. The HSE's 'You can QUIT' Facebook page has over 9,000 Likes to date, showing that people are choosing to share their quitting experience and get support online. Quit.ie has seen a 280% increase in the number of visits and calls to the National Smokers' Quitline 1850 201 203 increased by over 300% since the QUIT Campaign launched in June.

Dr. Fenton Howell, HSE Director of Public Health said today; ‘We're delighted to see such positive results from the campaign to date. There are about 1 million smokers in Ireland and unfortunately, 1 in every 2 of those smokers will die of a tobacco related disease. Smokers have a greater chance of success if they use supports such as the quit.ie website, the National Smokers' Quitline 1850 201 203, or free HSE Smoking Cessation Clinics. I would encourage those who are thinking about quitting or currently in the process of quitting to get some support and double their chances of success.'

The new TV ads feature real people and the message 1 in every 2 of those smokers will die of a tobacco related disease. ‘While most people know that “smoking is bad for you”, very few know just how bad it is. Our campaign tells them the real story, but also shows them how they can escape that frightening statistic. It provides clear signposts on HOW to quit, with a range of supports accessible to every smoker.'

Dr. Fenton Howell concluded: ‘Look around you, we all know someone who will be affected by a tobacco related illness, and if you are one of the 1 million smokers in Ireland, remember YOU CAN QUIT. Check out our quit.ie website, call the Quitline, join a smoking cessation course, visit your GP or pharmacist, talk to your dentist or join us on Facebook – the help will help.'

Stories from our National Smokers' Quitline, our free HSE clinics and posted on our Facebook page show us that it's never too late to try to quit, and that getting support is the key to success for many.

Roddy Gillen, aged 70 from Sligo and a part time musician and singer, was referred to his local HSE smoking cessation clinic after a routine hospital visit. ‘When I went to bed, I sounded like a pipe band due to the wheeze I had developed. I knew I needed to give up, and the hardest part was making that decision.' Roddy found the things that helped him most were the support from the HSE advisor, a nicotine inhaler, and keeping the images and facts about the harm caused by smoking to the front of his mind. ‘I've been told that my singing voice sounds so much better and I can now hit notes that I've missed for many many years'. All of Roddy's family are now non-smokers and his son is bringing him to the Rugby in France next year to celebrate him quitting.

Yvonne Higgens is 33 and a mother of one; she smoked on and off for many years until a short illness caused her to take stock. ‘Every doctor discussed the cigarettes with me, and the final impact was when a nurse told me if I wanted to see my lovely daughter grow up, I knew what I had to do. I went cold turkey, and though I had moments when I nearly snapped, doing something else or blocking the thoughts really helped. You get stronger as the weeks go on, and now I feel brill being free from the smoking trap, looking forward to a long and healthy life with my daughter!'

More success stories and works in progress can be read on www.facebook.com/HSEquit.

If you want help to QUIT smoking:
Call the National Smokers' Quitline 1850 201 203
Visit www.quit.ie
Join http:www.facebook.com/HSEquit
Contact your local HSE smoking cessation counsellor
Talk to your GP, Pharmacist or Dentist

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