A health forum in Derry is encouraging people to quit smoking as part of a campaign launched this month.
Brandywell and Bogside Health Forum and The Healthy Living Centre Alliance have launched “Make March your Month to Quit” with the habit remaining a leading cause of preventable disease and premature death in Northern Ireland.
The campaign features a “turn your ash into cash” scheme with Healthy Living Centre staff available to advise smokers on how to convert ash into cash.
Those involved in the campaign say that smokers who smoke 20 cigarettes a day could save £4,346 over a year.
A spokesperson for the campaign said: “Imagine the difference that money could make to you and your family. If you think of anyone who has smoked for 50 years averaging 20 cigarettes a day, it would amount to a whopping £217,308. Imagine what you could do with that money, the holidays, the family trips and the memories you could make.
“The Alliance has prioritised smoking as an area of special attention, especially after the impact that COVID 19 had on the people and the community. We know that smokers are at higher risk of COVID 19 and the lasting impact of this. So as a result we are coming to a community near you. Various Healthy Living Centres will be hosting Stop Smoking Programmes, helping you to kick the habit once and for all.
“Keep an eye out in your local community for various events and information sessions. This year we have planned several events in four of the five Trust areas in the North with engagements taking place in shopping centres, shops, pharmacies, youth clubs, schools and community centres as far apart as Loughguile and Irvingstown, Castlederg and Downpatrick and East Belfast and Derry.’
Colette Rogers strategic lead for Tobacco from the Public Health Agency said: “We are encouraging people to use No Smoking Month as an opportunity to begin their quit journey and improve their health.
“With the recent introduction of new legislation to protect children from second-hand smoke in cars, maybe you’ve already been thinking about trying to quit. No Smoking Month could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to set a quit date and quit for good.”
Meanwhile, Tony Doherty, Regional Coordinator of the HLC Alliance added: “Smoking is a big deal for smokers, their families and wider social circles. It has a major effect on physical health putting smokers and those living with them at heightened risk of cancers, heart disease and stroke.
“Not only that, it also has a major impact on the pocket with smokers often shelling out more than £5,000 per year to feed the habit.
‘Quitting is difficult. Quitting on your own is even harder. If you receive assistance and support while you quit, it is proven you are more likely to succeed. We recognised the need for a cessation programme to recommence as things open up in our communities.
“We will be working in partnership with our local community pharmacies to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to make march their month to quit.”
If you would like to know more about the programme, you can contact Sinead Murphy at [email protected] or 02871365330.
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