Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Supports HSE QUIT Smoking campaign

14 June 2011
A new health education campaign by the HSE aimed at encouraging smokers to quit has been launched. Smoking is the single biggest cause of illness, disability and death in Ireland. By encouraging smokers to quit and reducing the numbers of smokers in Ireland, we can reduce the level of illness and deaths caused by tobacco use, and reduce the cost of treating those illnesses, which will benefit everyone in our society.

 HSE Quit Campaign

Pictured at the launch of the HSE's new health education campaign aimed at encouraging smokers to quit are Dr Terry McWade, Deputy CEO, RCSI and Dr Fenton Howell, Director of Public Health, HSE.

The new campaign is based on the stark fact, which is not well known among the public - 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease. This fact highlights the serious impact that smoking has not only on the smoker themselves but also their friends, family and loved ones.

Dr. Fenton Howell, HSE Director of Public Health, introduces the new campaign: ‘Surprisingly only 7% of people know that 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease. Our aim is to make people realise the effect smoking has on their health, and that of their loved ones, and give them encouragement and help to QUIT.

80% of smokers say they want to quit and 40% try to quit every year, this campaign highlights the range of supports available to smokers to encourage them to try to quit and advice on what they can do to ensure their quit attempt succeeds. Most people quit successfully after a few attempts, and while many go it alone on will power, those quitters who use supports like our National Smokers' Quitline, online help, smoking cessation services or medications are twice as likely to succeed.

Dr Howell emphasized that ‘smokers know that cigarettes are bad for them. Many of them feel that quitting is too hard, that they won't make it - or that they will do it tomorrow, next month, when they're 30, or when they're 40. Our campaign will remind smokers that it's never too late, and that quitting is worth it. Most people try to quit a few times before quitting for good, and each time, they gain skills and confidence that help them to take that permanent step.'

‘The message to all smokers in Ireland: 1 in 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease, but it doesn't have to be that way. You can QUIT.'

There are about 1 million smokers in Ireland and, each year, 5,500 Irish people die of a tobacco related disease. Many thousands more lives are shattered by the illness, disability and bereavement that cigarettes cause. We estimate that between €1 and €2 billion euro is spent each year by the HSE in treating tobacco related diseases.

The HSE has joined with a range of key health organisations to ensure that campaign has maximum impact and support across the health sector. Partners include the Irish Cancer Society, Irish Heart Foundation, Irish College of General Practitioners, Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, Irish Dental Association, ASH Ireland, Asthma Society of Ireland, Tobacco Free Research Institute, Environmental Health Officers Association, National Youth Council of Ireland, Irish Thoracic Society, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.