The HSE has announced free nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) from local stop-smoking clinics as part of a package of supports on offer to people who quit smoking through the HSE QUIT service.
NRT are licensed medicines that safely give lower levels of nicotine to help people get through cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can double peoples’ chances of quitting for good.
Welcoming the news which comes on National No Smoking Day, HSE Public Health Medicine Lead with the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Dr Paul Kavanagh outlined how NRT works.
We sometimes talk about smoking as a choice but the reality is that it is an addiction. Nicotine makes cigarettes addictive and hard to give up. You will double your chances of quitting for good if you get support from QUIT.ie and use NRT, which is now provided free from local stop-smoking clinics.
“NRT are safer than smoking because they don’t contain the other poisonous chemicals, like tar and carbon monoxide, which are present in tobacco smoke.
“They come in many different forms like patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and mouth sprays and often work best when you combine them together in a way that suits you. For example, use a long-acting patch combined with a short-acting nicotine mouth spray or lozenge.
“Using NRT, over a full course of 12 weeks, doubles your chances of quitting smoking in combination with all the encouragement, emotional and behavioural support available from HSE Stop Smoking Advisors before and after you quit smoking.
“I would recommend anyone who is thinking about stopping smoking to consider making a quit attempt with help from NRT and a Stop Smoking Advisor to give themselves every chance of staying quit for good.”
Dr Kavanagh assured that NRT products are checked for safety by the Health Products Regulatory Agency (HPRA) in Ireland, and following a comprehensive assessment by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), are recommended as a safe, effective and as a “clinically sound way to stop smoking in the National Stop Smoking Guidelines”.
National Lead of the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Martina Blake advised that there are over 60 Stop Smoking Advisors based around the country to support anyone who wants to quit smoking.
You do not need to be referred by your GP or doctor. Visit QUIT.ie from the HSE to find a list of clinics near you or call 1800 201 203 and we’ll put you in touch with your local clinic. You can arrange a face-to-face appointment or a phone appointment.
In a one-to-one session, HSE QUIT advisors will assess a person's nicotine addiction, identify their reasons for quitting, discuss their best options for NRT and create a personal plan to help them quit smoking for good.
Those who join the HSE stop smoking programme will have their local advisor arrange access to NRT through their GP or nearest participating pharmacy.
The advisor will then keep in touch weekly for the first six weeks after the person quits and periodically for up to 12 months to help and support them through their quitting journey.
For more information or to get a personalised quit plan visit QUIT.ie.