Health chiefs have urged smokers to make a New Year’s resolution to kick the habit.
With 5,500 people expected to die from a tobacco-related illness in Ireland in 2013, the Health Service Executive (HSE) insisted quitting is easier with the right support.
Director of public health Dr Fenton Howell said a new Facebook page for helping smokers quit could help increase their chances of success.
“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,” Dr Howell said.
“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.”
Dr Howell said seven in every 10 smokers want to quit, while four in 10 attempt to every year.
He said while many of the one million people who have successfully given up cigarettes across the country did so “cold turkey”, using public services can double a person’s chances.
“This is the most popular time of year for quit attempts and we want to encourage those attempts, and also back them up as much as possible, to increase their chances of success,” he added.
A new HSE “You Can Quit” page on Facebook is made up of a community of past, present and future quitters.
The executive will also launch a new app on January 1 called “I Quit”, which allows people to announce their plans to give up smoking.
The app also gives people access to available help and support, and allows them to invite their Facebook friends to back them up.
Dr Howell said other parts of the campaign can be found on the HSE website, through its quit helpline, GPs and pharmacists and dedicated HSE quit clinics.
“The quit campaign will also be active on TV, radio and online over the coming weeks and a number of local radio stations will be supporting us, broadcasting special tips on how to quit, and encouraging listeners to call or text their reasons for quitting or their message of support for a quitter,” he added.
For more information, visit www.quit.ie or call the quit helpline on 1850 201 203, or find the HSE quit page on Facebook.