HEALTH experts are urging people who are looking to quit smoking for the New Year not to go ‘cold turkey’ and to seek support from free quit services available.
Research shows that stop smoking services, like HSE’s QUIT service, makes your twice as likely to quit for good.
Support services, in combination with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and stop smoking medications, makes you tree to four times more likely to quit.
The latest Healthy Ireland Survey found that there are 80,000 fewer people smoking in Ireland than there were three years ago, and that six out of 10 people who smoke want to quit.
However, many of those people will choose to go it alone and 43% of people who smoke said that they would choose to go cold turkey without any help or support.
Dr Paul Kavanagh, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Advisor to the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, says that this is not the best way to quit.
He added: “Many people think that going cold turkey is the best way to quit but we know from the evidence that it is the least effective way of quitting. If you are going to quit, give yourself the best chance of success. Using the support of our QUIT services and finding out more about NRT and stop smoking medications increases your chance of quitting for good.”
Nicotine Replacement Therapy – such as patches, gum, inhalers, gum or stop smoking medication- helps deal with cravings and gives you the best chance of success.
“Sometimes people are reluctant to use NRT,” said Dr Kavanagh. “They may have used these methods in the past without success but we know that when these products are used correctly, and for the right length of time, they really help. The QUIT service, your GP or your pharmacist can give you advice on the best option for you.”
There is lots of support available to people who want to quit. The HSE’s QUIT service is a free, personal support service to help quitters – providing a team of trained advisors, online tools, understanding and support.
The QUIT service can help you over the phone, on Facebook or Twitter, via email or text, or through Live Chat via the QUIT.ie support. The QUIT Service also has a network of face-to-face HSE QUIT services in locations around the country, providing one-to-one and group support for smokers.
Kate Cassidy, HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Tobacco Co-ordinator said “We know that quitting is difficult and there are many reasons why people may choose to put it off. Giving up smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health and that’s why it’s important that you give yourself the best chance of success by using the support available to you.”
Amanda White from Tipperary who is featured in the QUIT campaign’s TV ad, broke her twenty year smoking habit with help for the HSE’s QUIT service three years ago this month.
“Three years ago, I decided to use the New Year as a new beginning and quit smoking,” said Amanda. What worked for me this time was using the support of the QUIT service. The QUIT team rang me every single week for the first four weeks, and every morning I woke up to a text, which was brilliant because it was really motivational – they were there for me.
“I knew that at any point I could pick up the phone and ring them if I felt like I was going to relapse and that they would not judge me. The QUIT team gave me the encouragement I needed to finally stop smoking. My advice to anyone who is thinking about quitting is to get in touch with the QUIT team today. You don’t have to do this on your own.”
Get started on www.QUIT.ie
Freephone 1800 201 203
Freetext QUIT to 50100
Find local HSE QUIT support groups on QUIT.ie or by calling the QUIT team
Tweet the QUIT team @hseQUITteam
Join the Facebook page www.facebook.com/HSEquit