Around 30,000 people nationwide will attempt to quit smoking this month, the HSE has said.
However, it has warned that people who attempt to quit on their own have a much poorer chance of succeeding. It is encouraging smokers to use its free QUIT.ie service.
QUIT.ie is a free, personal support service, which includes a team of trained advisors and online tools. The team can help people over the phone, on Facebook and Twitter, by email, text or a live chat facility on the QUIT.ie website.
A network of face-to-face HSE QUIT services are also available nationwide and these provide one-to-one and group support.
So far in 2018, over 1,500 smokers have already signed up to QUIT.ie and according to the HSE's tobacco coordinator, Kate Cassidy, deciding to quit smoking ‘is one of the most important things you can do for your health', however the right support is crucial.
"We know that quitting is difficult and there are many reasons why people may choose to put it off. Smokers can feel trapped, fearful of quitting, and can feel like a failure when it hasn't worked in the past. We also know that people can feel immense pride when they do quit," she explained.
Ms Cassidy pointed out that smokers are twice as likely to quit for good with the support of the QUIT.ie service, and are four times more likely to succeed if medication and/or nicotine replacement therapy is used in addition to the service.
"Having the support of the QUIT team in place as you make your quit attempt is very important. Relapse at some point in your quitting journey is a frequent occurrence. Urges to smoke are often triggered by stressful situations, seeing others smoke or when socialising.
"When becoming a non-smoker, it is crucial that you feel positive and truly believe in your ability to succeed. Your Quit team will prepare you for this," Ms Cassidy said.
The HSE noted that the QUIT.ie team offers evidence-based care through a standard treatment programme. Quitters will be supported for 12 months. They are initially offered a 20 minute phone consultation, which can be scheduled for any time that is convenient to them. This call focuses on the person's smoking habits, triggers and reasons for quitting.
If the smoker is ready to quit, they set the date. The QUIT team will then schedule a call for the quit date, and further calls once a week for the first four weeks. There are follow-up calls at three months and 12 months, but quitters can call, text or use Facebook to contact the QUIT team, usually the same advisor, throughout the process.
The service can be reached at:
-Freephone 1800 201 203
-Freetext QUIT to 50100
-Online at www.quit.ie
-Join the Facebook page on www.facebook.com/HSEquit
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