HSE app aims to help smokers beat the habit

Smokers trying to quit are being given another tool to double their chances of beating nicotine with a new, free smartphone app based on a highly successful HSE social networking page.

The ‘You can quit’ Facebook page is a community of quitters past, present, and future who support each other as they attempt to come off nicotine.

On New Year’s Day yesterday, the ‘I Quit’ app was released to build on the Facebook page’s success

HSE director of public health Dr Fenton Howell said smokers who take advantage of support networks double the chance of giving up their habit.

“People can use the app to announce their plans to quit, find out about the help and support we can offer, and invite their Facebook friends to back them up along the way.

“We’ve reached a stage in Ireland where we have 1m people who have successfully quit smoking. While most people quit ‘cold turkey’, we know that people who get help or use a support service can double their chances of success,” he said.

“Help can come from online supports like our website or Facebook page, our QUITline, GPs, and pharmacists, HSE QUIT Smoking clinics, treatments, and medications — and, of course, from friends and family. People who have already quit can provide tremendous support and inspiration for those trying to do it themselves.”

Research shows that smoking is the single biggest cause of illness, disability, and death. In 2013, about 5,500 people will die from smoking-related diseases in Ireland.

According to the HSE, seven in every 10 smokers want to quit, and about four in 10 make an attempt to quit every year.

This January we want to remind everyone who is considering a quit attempt of the huge support that is available, Dr Howell said.

“It’s never too late to make a quit attempt, and while any time is a good time, New Year always provides a fresh incentive to try, or to try again. I encourage all smokers to consider trying to quit, and to get some help — and I encourage people who know or love a smoker to offer them your encouragement and your support to try to quit. It will make all the difference.”

Guidelines: How to quit smoking

*Use the four terms starting with the letter ‘d’ to save you reaching for a cigarette: distract, delay, drink water, deep breath.

*Save the money you would normally spend on cigarettes and use it to help you stop smoking or to treat yourself.

*Visit the HSE’s www.quit.ie for information, advice and an online QUITplan. It will assess your smoking habits, give advice on how to quit, and send you emails and tips to get you through the first few weeks.

*The telephone QUITline is also available at 1850 201 203. The phone team will talk to you about wanting to quit, send you some information or arrange for you to talk to a quit smoking counsellor.

*Join the YOU CAN QUIT Facebook community on www.facebook.com/HSEquit or via the new Facebook app available at there.

*Talk to your GP or pharmacist. They can advise if you feel you need supports like using nicotine replacement therapy or medication.

*Sign up for a QUIT smoking course with a HSE QUIT clinic. Details are on www.quit.ie or via message to our Facebook page.

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