23/11/2011

No Smoking Day Details Outlined

A conference has heard that smokers across Northern Ireland are to be again urged to break free from their smoking habit.

That was the challenge set this week by the No Smoking Day team and the Ulster Cancer Foundation at a regional conference to brief health professionals in preparation for No Smoking Day – Wednesday 14th March 2012.

No Smoking Day provides smokers who want to quit, with the motivation and support they need to be successful. Giving up smoking usually requires much planning, encouragement and support but the day itself provides an excellent focus for many thousands of local smokers to stop.

At the conference the No Smoking Day team encouraged health professionals to help communities kick the habit by making plans now to stop.

The No Smoking Day Campaign in Northern Ireland is co-ordinated by the Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF).

Gerry McElwee, Chair of No Smoking Day Committee (NI) and Head of Cancer Prevention, UCF, said: "The No Smoking Day conference brought together over 120 local health professionals who will be involved in organising events for No Smoking Day.

"It is an ideal opportunity to make plans and exchange ideas with delegates from the No Smoking Day team in London, UCF staff and the local co-ordinating group.

"No Smoking Day continues to achieve high levels of public recognition and involvement, and indeed its greatest impact is right here in Northern Ireland," he added.

Research shows that public awareness of No Smoking Day in Northern Ireland is almost 80% - which is double the awareness levels in London and nearly 20% higher than any other region of the UK.

Northern Ireland also ranks high in participation levels, second only to London from across the whole of the UK.

"While there is no doubt that stopping smoking can be very challenging, many people do give up successfully.

"Those who plan and prepare are more likely to succeed, so our advice to smokers is to start preparing now.

"Getting help and support is the most important thing you can do to make your quit attempt a success.

"We are delighted to see so many members of the pharmacy profession attending this event in advance of No Smoking Day 2012. The presence of so many pharmacists offering smoking cessation support on the high street can only be seen as welcome news for those smokers looking for easily accessed, professional advice and information at convenient locations and times," he added.

He also outlined that, in the last year, around 760 people attended UCF stop smoking clinics, which helped over 64% of people to stop smoking within four weeks.

UCF's workplace stop smoking clinics achieved a remarkable quit rate of 69% in four weeks - nearly double the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended 35% quit rate guidelines.

He outlined that anyone wanting to attend the stop smoking support clinics can either be referred by their GP or can contact the UCF.

The No Smoking Day Regional Conference is organised by UCF with support from the Public Health Agency, GSK, Pfizer, Novartis and McNeil.

(BMcC/GK)

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