Kick the habit in 2013

WITH minds turning to New Year’s resolutions, once again quitting smoking will be at the top of many people’s ‘to do’ list.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging smokers to make a plan, think about what steps they are going to take to stay off tobacco for good, and to seek practical support and advice from a Stop Smoking Service.

Gerry Bleakney, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement, PHA, said: “In Northern Ireland around 360,000 people aged 16 and over smoke, and sadly one in every two smokers die early because of their smoking habit.

“New Year is a time when many people decide to quit smoking, and while some might be able to do it with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the support services that are available can really help them make the decision permanent.

“There are over 600 free stop smoking services across Northern Ireland in pharmacies, GP surgeries, hospitals, communities and workplaces that can help your quit attempt.”

He added: “If you quit and then relapse, accept it, work out why it happened, and focus on how you can avoid it in future. It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good but if you are determined you will do it. Last year over 39,204 people decided to stop using our Stop Smoking Services and many others quit on their own. ‘Be prepared’ is the motto for success.”

For more information and useful tips to stop smoking, log on to and order a ‘Quit Kit’ free of charge. Alternatively, contact the Smokers’ Helpline on 0808 812 8008.