Issued by UCF
Smokers across Northern Ireland are being urged to take the leap and break free from their smoking habit.
That was the challenge set today by the No Smoking Day team and the Ulster Cancer Foundation at a regional conference to brief health professionals in preparation for No Smoking Day – Wednesday 14th March 2012.
No Smoking Day provides smokers who want to quit, with the motivation and support they need to be successful. Giving up smoking usually requires much planning, encouragement and support but the day itself provides an excellent focus for many thousands of local smokers to stop.
At the conference the No Smoking Day team encouraged health professionals to help communities kick the habit by making plans now to stop.
The No Smoking Day Campaign in Northern Ireland is co-ordinated by the Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF).
Gerry McElwee, Chair of No Smoking Day Committee (NI) and Head of Cancer Prevention, UCF, said, “The No Smoking Day conference brought together over 120 local health professionals who will be involved in organising events for No Smoking Day. It is an ideal opportunity to make plans and exchange ideas with delegates from the No Smoking Day team in London, UCF staff and the local co-ordinating group.
“No Smoking Day continues to achieve high levels of public recognition and involvement, and indeed its greatest impact is right here in Northern Ireland.
Research shows that public awareness of No Smoking Day in Northern Ireland is almost 80% which is double the awareness levels in London and nearly 20% higher than any other region of the UK. Northern Ireland also ranks high in participation levels, second only to London from across the whole of the UK.
“While there is no doubt that stopping smoking can be very challenging, many people do give up successfully. Those who plan and prepare are more likely to succeed, so our advice to smokers is to start preparing now. Getting help and support is the most important thing you can do to make your quit attempt a success
“We are delighted to see so many members of the pharmacy profession attending this event in advance of No Smoking Day 2012. The presence of so many pharmacists offering smoking cessation support on the high street can only be seen as welcome news for those smokers looking for easily accessed, professional advice and information at convenient locations and times.”
Anyone who wants to quit can use UCF’s free and confidential stop smoking clinics, funded by the Public Health Agency (Eastern Area). Weekly smoking cessation advice clinics are provided in a number of GP practices as well as leisure centres, community centres and workplaces, at a time convenient to smokers who want to give up.
Those attending find out more about smoking habits, tips for giving up and how to cope with cravings. In the last year around 760 people attended UCF stop smoking clinics which helped over 64% of people to stop smoking within four weeks. UCF’s workplace stop smoking clinics achieved a remarkable quit rate of 69% in four weeks – nearly double the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended 35% quit rate guidelines.
Anyone wanting to attend the stop smoking support clinics can either be referred by their GP or can contact Bernie Neeson at UCF on Tel. 028 9066 3281. Stop smoking services are also available in some GP practices and pharmacies across Northern Ireland. For your nearest service call the Northern Ireland Smokers Helpline on Tel. 0808 812 8008.
The No Smoking Day Regional Conference is organised by UCF with support from the Public Health Agency, GSK, Pfizer, Novartis and McNeil.
For further information please contact:
Pauline Wylie, PR and Events Manager, Ulster Cancer Foundation on
028 9066 3281 / 07810 371118
Marie Foy, PR Officer, Ulster Cancer Foundation on
028 9066 3281 / 07736 358692
Notes to the editor