Smoking Cessation Rates Are High In Northern Ireland

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The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has published statistics relating to the smoking cessation services for 2007/08.

The information released provides a statistical examination of the people reporting to the smoking cessation services throughout Northern Ireland during the year 2007/08.

Summary

In Northern Ireland during 2007/08:

* 21,476 people set a quit date through the smoking cessation services. This is an increase of 7,681 (56%) on the figure for the same period last year.

* Of those setting a quit date, 2% were under 18 years of age, 30% were aged 18-34, 24% were aged 35-44, 28% were aged 45-59, and 16% were aged 60 and over.

* At the four-week follow-up 10,971 had successfully quit (based on self-report), 51% of those setting a quit date. This is a slight decrease on the figure for the previous year (52%).

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride has welcomed new statistics which reveal an increase in the numbers of people trying to give up smoking.

During 2007/08, 21,476 people set a quit date through the smoking cessation services, an increase of 7,681 on the figure for the same period last year.

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Dr McBride said: "We know that the vast majority of smokers want to give up smoking, and I welcome the 56% increase on the previous year in the number of people who set a quit date through smoking cessation services.

"This increase is particularly impressive given that we already experienced high levels of people kicking the habit in 2007 following the introduction of the smoke-free legislation. The momentum of the legislation is obviously still with us and that can only be a good thing for the health of the people of Northern Ireland.

"The legislation was introduced with the primary aim of improving public health, and I would encourage anyone thinking about quitting to contact the cessation services and take the first step in quitting.

"We have to ensure that we continue to achieve this success. The Department is currently in the process of rolling forward its Tobacco Action Plan. The new plan will set out the direction the Department intends to take to achieve its overall aim of a 'tobacco-free society'.

"Improving and protecting our health will be a key aim of our new system and the new public health agency will give us the renewed and energised focus on public health we need to create a society were everyone is equally well."

Dr McBride added: "Smoking is thought to be the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland.

"With 350,000 smokers in Northern Ireland, we still face a huge challenge. Smoking alone accounts for half the difference in health outcomes for the most deprived in society.

"If you quit smoking, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily, and your food will taste better. You will have both better health and extra money for spending or saving."

Dr. McBride added: "Nicotine Replacement Therapy is the most popular choice for those trying to quit and the Department will ensure that access to this treatment will continue to be made available.

"The cessation services throughout Northern Ireland are doing a fantastic job in encouraging and supporting people in their efforts to quit. The Smoker's helpline on 0800 858 585 is a freephone service which provides advice and support about stopping smoking, or ask your GP or pharmacist."

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