Countdown under way to No Smoking Day 2018

Monday, 19 February 2018 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
Countdown under way to No Smoking Day 2018

It is just less than one month until No Smoking Day on Wednesday 14 March, with thousands of smokers across Northern Ireland today being urged to stub out their cigarettes and become ‘Proud Quitters’. 

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Cancer Focus NI have teamed up with pharmacy, community and HSC Trust stop smoking service providers and the local No Smoking Day Coordinating Committee to urge smokers to quit on 14 March by seeking the help of their local stop smoking service.

Colette Rogers, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control with the PHA, said: “Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing. You will notice positive health changes and have more money in your pocket. Last year the percentage of people who smoke here dropped by two percent, meaning that the proportion of the population here who are smokers is now 20% – the lowest since the Northern Ireland Health Survey began in 1983.

“While we know that stopping smoking can be a challenge, help is at hand. There are a range of services across Northern Ireland that have an excellent track record in helping people to quit. Experienced stop smoking staff provide a friendly, supportive service in a relaxed environment. They’ll help design a stop smoking plan that will work best for you to make this as easy as possible. This could include Nicotine Replacement Therapy and support to cope with cravings and enjoy a healthier lifestyle,” she added.

“Studies have found that smokers can significantly increase their chances of quitting with help from a stop smoking services than if they go it alone. We are encouraging smokers to visit their GP, pharmacist or local stop smoking advisor to avail of free, professional information and advice on quitting smoking. Getting prepared for your quit attempt is the first step on the journey towards a healthier and happier smoke-free life, so we are urging smokers to use this year’s No Smoking Day as the perfect opportunity to join the thousands of others who have become a ‘proud quitter’.”   

Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Focus NI, said: “We’ve coordinated No Smoking Day in Northern Ireland for 35 years and know that preparation is key to a successful quit attempt. We’re encouraging smokers to start thinking and preparing now in advance of No Smoking Day so that when March 14 comes around they will be ready to start their smoke-free lives.

“Cancer Focus NI is one of many organisations that provide a wide range of support services and has an excellent track record in helping people as they quit. There are more than 650 free PHA-funded stop smoking services which are run by specially-trained staff who can advise on the best way to stop smoking.

“Services are offered in many community pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations, and can be set up in workplaces.

“We urge smokers to use these free services and make No Smoking Day the first day of their smoke-free future.”

Five top tips to help you quit smoking:   

Make a date to give up – and stick to it! This year’s No Smoking Day is Wednesday 14 March.

  • Make a plan. Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine-replacement product, and have it ready before the date you plan to stop.
  • Get support from your local stop smoking service. Also, let your family and friends know that you're quitting. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful.
  • Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy cigarettes.
  • Treat yourself. If you can, use the money you're saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special.

For more information on the services available and useful tips to stop smoking, visit the PHA’s Want 2 Stop website at where you can also order a Quit Kit free of charge which will help you plan your quit attempt.