New Years Resolutions: It’s “Always a Good Time” for Smokers to Consider Quitting

As people reflect on their New Year’s resolutions, a leading HSE doctor says it’s “always a good time for someone who smokes to consider quitting.”

The recent Healthy Ireland survey showed that just under one in five people here smoke, up from around one in three in the late 1990s.

Dr Paul Kavanagh, specialist in HSE public health medicine, Recount The hard shoulder that’s good progress – but there is some concern that the steady reduction has stalled over the past two years.

He said maybe it was a “hit in the data,” or potentially a reflection of how people’s lives have been affected by the COVID pandemic.

However, he stressed: “Smoking is one of the most harmful things you can do from a health standpoint – most smokers are aware of this and most smokers are interested in trying to quit. .

“It’s always a better choice for someone to consider quitting than to continue to smoke.

“If someone is in a younger age group … then the opportunity for them to reverse and reduce their level of risk to that of an average person in the population is better when they quit more. early in life.

“Even for people who have an established illness, like lung disease, caused by smoking… one of the best things they can do for their health is to quit smoking. It’s always a good time for someone who smokes to consider quitting.

Dr Kavanagh said his key message is that anyone considering quitting smoking should seek support and advice.

He said: “The HSE can help. We have services available online at quit i.e. and by phone at the free number 1800-201-203.

“They are easy to access, can be tailored to the individual and are provided by experts. Most of all, they work – they are safe and effective. “

Tips for quitting smoking

Gary English has stopped smoking since September. He had smoked for 45 years – from the age of 12.

He had seen his mother and grandmother die of emphysema, but that wasn’t enough to dissuade him from smoking, even though he knew it was bad for him.

His outlook changed when he had to go to the hospital for a separate problem.

He recalled: “The surgeon doing the operation … he said ‘you have to lose about two pounds of weight, and you have to pack the cigarettes.’ He said ‘in case we operate on you … you have a much higher rate of ending up in intensive care because of your smoking ”.

“My breathing was very bad – I had a terrible cough.”

Gary initially resisted the call to quit, but was eventually referred to the smoking cessation nurse at St James’s Hospital.

He said the nurse had an important question for him that helped him change his attitude: “Why do you allow cigarettes to control you?” Why don’t you start controlling them? ‘

The nurse also first asked her to stop smoking in the house, and put them in the shed instead.

Likewise, he was told to put the cigarettes in the trunk of the car – forcing him to stop the car if he wanted to smoke.

These two simple rules made Gary go out of his way to get a cigarette, rather than being easily on hand whenever he was tempted.

He also found it helpful to imagine a “good and a bad angel” on his shoulders – the former serving to dissuade him when the “bad angel” tempted him to smoke.

Gary said he set a day off, although he ended up going a week beyond that because he was on vacation.

Nonetheless, he quit and started using nicotine lozenges and patches – aids that he was able to gradually reduce over the weeks and months.

He said he hoped to get rid of these aids eventually, but he thinks it is much better to use them than to smoke.

So far, however, the impact of quitting smoking has already made a big difference to Gary.

He said, “I can feel my lungs expanding at the back of my body – I couldn’t feel it until I quit smoking.”

Main image: photo file. Photo by: Patti McConville / Alamy Stock Photo

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