The HSE calls on people who smoke to make 2022 their year to quit.
Recent research shows that 29% of current smokers are either trying to quit or are actively planning to do so.
According to research, if you quit smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good.
January is traditionally a time when people set a new health goal. The HSE says that if you smoke, the most important thing you can do to improve your health is quit.
Quitting will improve your health more than any other change you can make. Also, you will notice improvements within the first days and weeks of your QUIT journey.
According to the recent Healthy Ireland Survey, many people changed their smoking habits during the pandemic.
Just over a quarter of people who smoke (28%) reported that they smoke more since the introduction of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Dr Paul Kavanagh, public health medicine specialist, HSE, said as the 2021 Healthy Ireland Survey reports, smoking in adults appears to be stalling at one in five.
He pointed out that smoking causes lung disease and other chronic diseases, which reduces the chances that people who smoke can effectively fight COVID-19 infection.
“Severe COVID-19 progression, including hospitalisation and death, is more common among people who smoke. This adds urgency to the need to help people who smoke to quit,” he said.
Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, said:
“As we start a new year, now is a great time to make changes that can benefit your health long-term.”
“Most people who smoke want to quit, but for many, the idea of quitting can seem like a difficult thing to embark upon. “
“It’s important to remember that you don’t have to quit alone. The HSE Quit Service is here to help by providing the tools and supports to make it possible.”
She said the most important part of quitting is preparing for quitting and getting your head into the right space.
Its qualified staff can help you weigh up the pros and cons, set a date that is right for you and decide which medication is suitable to help you succeed.
Its Quit Service is on-hand to give lots of practical personalised support to help people stop smoking for 28 days and beyond.
Lucas Marques, quit nine months ago, after 20 years of smoking, with help from the above Quit Service.
“I smoked from an early age and tried to quit a few times over the years. When I had a few drinks, my quit attempt would fail, and I would be back smoking.”
“I typically smoked a full packet of cigarettes on a night out; it was costing me a lot of money. I heard about the QUIT service, so I decided to give it a go. I used the phone support, and the calls were great.”
His stop smoking advisor gave him tips to distract himself from the cravings, which “really helped”.
He would advise anyone even considering quitting to “give it a chance”.
For anyone who smokes, you first need to decide that you want to quit, he advises. Then, have that first conversation with the Quit team, and they will help you.
“I can’t believe I am still smoke-free; I never thought it would happen,” he concluded.