Michael Walsh, Community Pharmacist at Walsh’s Pharmacy, Warrenpoint
It is estimated that around three quarters of smokers in Northern Ireland want to quit, with a similar breakdown of female and male smokers saying they would like to kick the habit.
We also know that if someone wants to stop smoking, they are up to four times more likely to succeed with help. With this in mind, smokers are invited in the runup to No Smoking Day (Wednesday 8 March) to call in with their local community pharmacy team to find out how they could help them to be smokefree.
As an established nationwide campaign, No Smoking Day highlights to potential quitters that there is help close to home. This is in the form of a step-by-step structured 12-week programme of support available at their community pharmacy.
With free specialist advice available, statistics for 2015/16 reveal that the smoking cessation services promoted through community pharmacy in Northern Ireland remains the most accessible and successful among independent healthcare providers, having supported more than 14,000 people to kick the habit at four weeks.
The awareness day is supported by organisations across Northern Ireland, including the Public Health Agency under the theme, ‘Proud to be a Quitter’.
Taking the decision to quit is a big step for many smokers, but there are lots of reasons to stop. It could be for their own health, or maybe loved ones are encouraging them to quit - whatever drives someone, community pharmacists can help them to achieve their goal and make both themselves and their family proud.
It’s also a great time of year to quit as one-time smokers could feel fitter and richer in time for summer. On average those who previously smoked 20 cigarettes a day can now save £250* each month – just think how that could count towards a holiday this year!
For more information about quitting, visit your local community pharmacy and ask about the Smoking Cessation Service. * https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator
Top Tips to help you Quit!
Write a List
Record the reasons why you want to stop – this will motivate you when tempted to reach for cigarettes.
Let people know that you are giving up smoking – your friends and family will be happy to support you.
Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays.
Do Things Differently
If you drink alcohol you may be tempted to light up again when you are having a drink. Think about changing your habits – consider giving up alcohol in the first few weeks.
Some people worry about gaining pounds when they give up smoking, as their appetite may improve. Try to make healthy food choices such as fruit or even sugar-free gum.
Why You Are Quitting
Remember all the reasons why you want to quit – feel fitter, reduce health risks, etc.
Take one day at a time
Mark off each day without cigarettes on a calendar. It will motivate you to keep going if you feel tempted to smoke.
Most people who quit smoking save around £250 each month. Use the extra cash to treat the family or save towards a holiday.
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