09:55pm Thursday 12 December 2019

Take the Leap and Quit Smoking

Issued by UCF

The Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF) is asking thousands of smokers in Northern Ireland to Take the Leap on No Smoking Day, Wednesday 14th March, and stop smoking.

 No Smoking Day ambassador and Dragon’s Den star, Duncan Bannatyne, is urging smokers to use 2012, a leap year, to quit. “As an ex-smoker myself I know how hard it can be to give up but I promise it’s worth the effort. I wholeheartedly support efforts to let people in Northern Ireland know what help and support is available,” he said. 

 Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention at UCF, which co-ordinates No Smoking Day in Northern Ireland, said, “The benefits of stopping smoking begin within hours and boost not just your health but your wallet too.  Someone who smokes 40 cigarettes a day can save a massive £25,367 over five years.

 “24% of adults in Northern Ireland smoke and research has shown that over two thirds of them would like to stop. No Smoking Day is one of the best times for smokers to escape their addiction so we are encouraging smokers to think ahead and make Wednesday 14th March 2012 the day that their smoke-free life begins.”

 Gerry added, “Stopping smoking is the most important thing that you can do to improve your health but it can require commitment and planning.  That’s why we at UCF are working more closely than ever with smokers who want to stop.

 “We provide weekly stop smoking support services across Northern Ireland which are funded by the Public Health Agency and are free and confidential. They are very informal and offer individual and group support.  We talk about smoking habits, tips for giving up and how to cope with cravings.  We have provided almost 30 clinics in the last year and helped over 50% of those attending to stop smoking within four weeks.”

 Supporting No Smoking Day, David Tumilty, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Senior Officer, Public Health Agency, said: “Support and motivation is vital for every smoker who attempts to quit and we will continue to provide this through our ‘stop smoking’ services across Northern Ireland.

“In 2010/11, 34,386 people in Northern Ireland set a quit date to stop smoking with the help of one of over 600 ‘stop smoking’ services, funded by the PHA and provided by community and voluntary groups, statutory services, GPs and local pharmacies.”

David added: “If you are motivated to ‘take the leap’ just lift the phone and ring the campaign helpline on 0808 812 8008 or go to www.want2stop.info . The website is packed with information and advice on stopping smoking. You can order a Quit Kit and talk to a ‘stop smoking’ adviser today or find out where you can receive free local ‘stop smoking’ support.

“There are enormous positive health effects with a smoke-free life, not to mention financial benefits. No Smoking Day is an ideal opportunity to break free from cigarette addiction for good.”

Those who do stop smoking on March 14th will gain health and financial benefits in next to no time including:

  • Feeling fitter and having loads of energy to start that healthy lifestyle – not feeling out of breath when the dog takes you for a brisk walk.
  • Saving a stack of money – giving up a 20-a-day is like a £48 a week pay rise.  Stop on No Smoking Day and by June you can save over £500!
  • Having a better sex life – smoking can create hormonal imbalances which decrease libido

Here are some top tips to help you:

  • Call the local freephone Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008 and check out what it offers
  • Get pharmacotherapies such as patches, gum or tablets.  Talk to UCF, your GP, nurse, pharmacist or any health professional.  This will quadruple your chances of stopping smoking.
  • Write down all the reasons you want to stop and stick it on the fridge to help you stay motivated
  • Talk to your friends, family and workmates – support from them is essential – why not quit together and keep each other motivated?

Anyone wishing to take part in No Smoking Day activities should contact Judith West at UCF, Tel 028 9066 3281 or email judithwest@ulstercancer.org

Further information

Pauline Wylie, PR & Events Manager, UCF on 02890663281 / 07810371118 or Marie Foy, PR & Events Officer, UCF on 02890663281 / 07736358692

Notes to the editor

Health Benefits

The health benefits from giving up smoking begin within 20 minutes of stopping, and will greatly increase over the years.  After your last cigarette….

20 minutes – Blood pressure returns to normal.

24 hours – Carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body and your lungs start to clear out mucus.

48 hours – No nicotine is left in the body. Taste and smell improves.

72 hours – Breathing becomes easier and your energy levels will increase.

2-12 weeks – Circulation improves making walking and running easier.

3-9 months – Coughs and breathing problems improve as lung function improves by 10%.

5 years – Risk of heart attack falls to half that of a smoker.

10 years – Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

Financial Benefits

Some of the things that a 20 a day smoker could do with the money they save from stopping:



Cost (approx)


1 day


Rent a DVD or meet a friend for coffee

1 week


Buy some CDs or a meal out

1 month


Go on a shopping spree

3 months


Go on holiday

6 months


Redecorate part of your house

1 year

£2, 536

Buy a second hand car


UCF’s Tobacco Free NI is an online resource for those working in tobacco control and for individuals who wish to stop smoking.

No Smoking Day is in its 28th year and is a registered charity. For more information about the campaign go to www.nosmokingday.org.uk

Share on:

MORE FROM Public Health and Safety

Health news