Cork Kerry Community Healthcare smoking cessation experts are reminding the public that tomorrow (Wednesday) is National No Smoking Day. As a result, the HSE is calling on people who smoke to prepare to take the 28-day #TheLastStop no smoking challenge in March – and local support is available.

Research shows that four in five people (79%) who smoke intend to kick the habit, and those who succeed in quitting for 28 days are five times more likely to quit for good.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic was a trigger for some to start smoking again. This is not surprising given that many use smoking as a way of managing stress, but the fact is that smoking does not actually reduce stress but speeds up the heart rate, which increases blood pressure, and increases stress. The good news is that 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.

 

“The Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Smoking Cessation Service is free and available to you today, to support you to quit smoking,” Anna Burns, Tobacco Control Manager, Health & Wellbeing, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic we have maintained our service, due to the importance of quitting for health. The World Health Organisation stated in 2020 that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers. Quitting immediately reduces the risk of respiratory infection. Smoking further damages blood vessels, and this is linked to the development of more severe symptoms from COVID-19. If you have an existing health condition we particularly encourage you to quit. Your local Smoking Cessation Advisor is there to support you by phone or virtual consultation. It is never too late. Now is the ideal time.”

SUPPORT

The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS and live chat. Smokers can free call 1800 201 203, FreeText QUIT to 50100 or visit www.QUIT.ie for stop smoking tips and resources, a free QUIT Kit, and to create a QUIT Plan.

Peer-to-peer support is available on the QUIT Facebook Page www.facebook.com/HSEQUIT or on Twitter at HSE QUIT @HSEQuitTeam

You can also contact your local Smoking Cessation service in Kerry by calling Margaret Enright on 087 1219618.

Five Top Tips to Quit Smoking:

1.    Prepare to quit: take a moment to write down your reasons for quitting. Keep them close to hand or even stick them on your fridge as a reminder to stay strong.

2.    Change your routine and habits – do you normally have a cigarette with a coffee or tea? Then change your routine – have a cup of water instead or hold your cup in the other hand.

3.    Keep check on cravings – your craving for nicotine will peak at 3-5 minutes and will pass if you deal with it.

Have your heard of the 4Ds?

·         Delay at least 3 – 5 minutes and the urge will pass,

·         Drink a glass of water or fruit juice,

·         Distract yourself, move away from the situation,

·         Deep breathe – breathe slowly and deeply.

4.    Get by with a little help from your friends – supportive friends, family and even work colleagues could make all the difference to you on your QUIT journey.

5.    The single best advice is to help yourself QUIT by getting support from the QUIT Team. Our service is available to everyone and is free of charge. By using a support service like our makes you twice as likely to succeed.