Michael Walsh, Community Pharmacist at Walsh’s Pharmacy in Warrenpoint fronts a Patient Client Council Blog for No Smoking Day 2017
It is estimated that around three quarters of smokers in Northern Ireland want to quit, with a similar breakdown of female and male smokers saying they would like to kick the habit. We also know that if someone wants to stop smoking, they are up to four times more likely to succeed with help. With this in mind, smokers are invited in the run up to No Smoking Day (Wednesday 8 March) to call in with their local community pharmacy team to find out how they could help them to be smokefree.
As an established nationwide campaign, No Smoking Day highlights to potential quitters that there is help close to home. This is in the form of a step-by-step structured twelve week programme of support available at their community pharmacy. With free specialist advice available, statistics for 2015/16 reveal that the smoking cessation services promoted through community pharmacy in Northern Ireland remains the most accessible and successful among independent healthcare providers, having supported over 14,000 people to remain quit at four weeks.
The awareness day is supported by organisations across Northern Ireland, including the Public Health Agency under the theme, ‘Proud to be a Quitter’.
Taking the decision to quit is a big step for many smokers, but there are lots of reasons to stop. It could be for their own health, or maybe loved ones are encouraging them to quit – whatever drives someone, community pharmacists can help them to achieve their goal and make both themselves and their family proud. It’s also a great time of year to quit as one-time smokers could feel fitter and richer in time for summer. On average those who previously smoked 20 cigarettes a day can now save £250* each month – just think how that could count towards a holiday this year!
For more information about quitting, visit your local community pharmacy and ask about the Smoking Cessation Service.