The HSE is today (National No Smoking Day, Wednesday, February 17th), calling on smokers to take on the 28-day #TheLastStop no smoking challenge in March.
Research shows that four in five people (79%) who smoke intend to kick the habit. Furthermore, those who succeed in quitting for 28 days, are five times more likely to quit for good.
Smoking does not actually reduce stress but speeds up the heart rate and increases blood pressure, increasing stress, according to the HSE.
Within one to two days of quitting, oxygen levels in your body will improve, your blood pressure and pulse reduce, which in turn decreases the overall stress on your body.
‘Smokers can expect to lose 10 years of life’
Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Public Health Medicine Specialist, said: “Smoking is incredibly harmful. One in two smokers will die from tobacco-related disease, and a smoker can expect to lose, on average, about 10 years of life due to smoking.”
“Each week in Ireland, there are 1,000 smoking-related hospital admissions, and this was before the onset of COVID-19.”
He highlighted that those who smoke are at higher risk of becoming more ill from COVID-19, including hospital admission, ICU admission and death.
“Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health, for your future and for your loved ones.”
The good news is that quitting smoking gives you a better fighting chance against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, the HSE added.
Martina Blake, national lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, said: “Most people who smoke want to quit but, for many, the idea of quitting can seem like a big hill to climb.”
“An important step that people often miss out on is the preparation. Setting a date to quit and equipping yourself with the information, tools and supports you need to quit will make a huge difference.”
“Get in touch with the Quit Service now and get ready to quit on March 1st. If you have quit before, you know that you can do it again and this time for good. Finding out about stop smoking medicines and the options available to you gives you the best chance of quitting for good.”
Reasons to quit smoking, as outlined by HSE:
- Have better skin, teeth and hair;
- Reduce your risk of life-threatening diseases;
- Save money – a standard pack of cigarettes a day costs over €400/month;
- Have nicer smelling clothes;
- Improve your home’s air quality;
- Be a good role model for your family and friends.
This March, 12 Quit Leaders from across the country will be quitting smoking with support from HSE Quit.
The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS, and live chat.
Smokers can free call 1800 201 203 or visit here for stop smoking tips and resources, a free QUIT Kit, and to create a QUIT Plan.