Stoptober is back and the Public Health Agency (PHA) is supporting the campaign by urging all smokers to take part in the 28 day stop smoking challenge during October, as smokers who give up their habit for four weeks are five times more likely to stop for good.
Gerry Bleakney, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control with the PHA, said: “Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health, so Stoptober is the perfect opportunity to give up your habit and enjoy both the health and financial benefits that stopping will bring.
“People who go without smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stop for good, so use Stoptober as the first step on your path to better health.
“It is also important to know that you are not alone in your quest to quit. Giving up smoking is often tough and different approaches will work for different people. While some people might be able to do it with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the Stop Smoking Support Services that are available can really help make their decision permanent. That’s why it is good to plan an approach to stopping that is most likely to work for you.”
Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, premature death and health inequality throughout Northern Ireland with around 2,300 people dying prematurely each year from smoking-related illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke and many cancers.
During the month of October the PHA’s ‘Make them proud’ and ‘Stop for good’ stop smoking ads will be run on television to coincide with the Stoptober campaign, reminding smokers of the support that is available to help them successfully quit.
Gerry continued: “If you quit and then relapse, accept it, work out why it happened, and focus on how you can avoid it in the future. It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good, but if you are determined, you will do it. Last year thousands of people decided to stop using the PHA’s Stop Smoking Services, and many others did so on their own. ‘Be prepared’ is the motto for success.
“For more information and useful tips to stop smoking visit the PHA’s ‘Want 2 Stop’ website at www.want2stop.info and order a ‘Quit Kit’ free of charge. Alternatively contact the Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008.
“There are also over 600 free stop smoking specialist services across Northern Ireland in pharmacies, GP surgeries, hospitals, communities and workplaces that can help with your quit attempt.”