Cigarettes cost you 11 minutes of your life every time you light one up

Today, on National No Smoking Day, Anna Burns, Senior Health Promotion Officer with the Health Service Executive, has advice on the support available to help smokers quit for good
Cigarettes cost you 11 minutes of your life every time you light one up
TRY AGAIN: Most people try quit smoking at least three times before they are successful.

ARE you tired of smoking? Do you worry about the effects of smoking on your health? Do you hate the smell? Do you hate the grasp it has of your time? If you have answered “yes” to these questions, you are not alone. Rest assured that six or seven out of every ten smokers want to give up. Are you one of them?

From a health perspective, smoking has a negative impact on you every day. Cigarettes will cost you 11 minutes of your life every time you light up and rob you of quality of life in your later years.

Think of the cost. Your lungs, heart and general health are suffering at the hands of the tobacco industry. Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in your system and does untold damage at cell level. Of the more than 7,000 chemicals you inhale every time you smoke, many have been proven to be cancer-causing and many more are simply toxic to the body.

Financially, cigarettes are costing you the price of a holiday every year, depending on how many you smoke. It may be the reason you cannot afford to upgrade the car or decorate your house. There is no good news here. Every year the price will go up. The government has committed to increasing the price of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco annually to reduce the likelihood of children taking up smoking.

Think of the freedom that you could gain by quitting; freedom from the addiction that sends you out to the cold to smoke; freedom from the costs ; freedom form the urge to smoke and fear of ill health. Think of the benefits. From the hour you stop smoking your health begins to improve; carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body within a day and nicotine is cleared within two days. Giving up smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health.

The good news is that you can quit and we in the HSE can help. The HSE offers a free QUIT service to anyone who wants support to quit smoking. Whether you want to meet a smoking cessation counsellor face-to-face or you would prefer phone support, you will find all the help and support you need on your doorstep. All you need to do is Freephone the QUIT service on 1800 201 203, text QUIT to the freetext number on 50100 or sign up on

When making a quit attempt, going “cold-turkey” is much less likely to work than using nicotine replacement therapy. When we are addicted to smoking what we crave is nicotine. It has changed our brain chemistry such that we now need nicotine to feel normal. By using the patches, gum, lozenge, spay-mist or inhaler you reduce your cravings for nicotine significantly. These products are always cheaper than cigarettes and if you have a medical card they are available through it. Talk to your GP and pharmacist for advice on which product best suits your needs. If you have already tried one of these products before and have not found them helpful then perhaps you did not use enough of it or use it for long enough (we see that a lot in our service). In fact, most people get the greatest success by using two products at once; a fast-acting product (such as the gum) with a slow-release product (the patch).

Do not feel you have failed if you have tried to quit before and not succeeded. This is a normal part of the process of quitting. Most people try an average of three times before they quit for good. Rest assured you are not alone in this. There are more quitters than smokers in Ireland today, thanks to the de-normalisation of smoking. You too can quit. If nicotine replacement products are not an option for you there are other types of medications you can try (with the support of your GP) that can help reduce the cravings before your quit day, making it easier to bin that last cigarette.

Today is National No Smoking Day. Allow yourself this opportunity to make another quit attempt. Preparation is all important. To double your chances of quitting use a nicotine replacement product or alternative. To improve your chances further call on the support of the free HSE QUIT service. You are up to four times more likely to succeed in this quit attempt if you combine the support of the HSE QUIT service with a nicotine replacement product.

Phone your local office to get one-to-one support or sign up to QUIT to get a quit plan today.

Phone 021 4921641 to be directed to smoking cessation clinics in all parts of Cork city and county, including the new St Mary’s Primary Care Centre in Gurranabraher ; the CUH; Mitchelstown; Mallow and Skibbereen.

Freephone QUIT on 1800 201 203 Freetext QUIT to 50100 and sign up to a quit plan.

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