Smokers fail to quit

Smokers fail to quit despite risks

Mon, May 18, 2009

More than a quarter of smokers insist they will not quit the habit – even though it represents health risks to their children, a survey revealed today.

The findings were released as part of a new online campaign to help addicts work out the health and financial cost of cigarettes while also identifying what makes their cravings worse.

A smoking calculator works out that a 20-a-day habit will cost €3,000 a year.

Dr Fenton Howell, Health Service Executive (HSE) director of public health, insisted the single most important thing a smoker can do to improve health and protect children is to give up.

“As it is very hard to quit smoking once you’ve started, as evidenced by the figures showing most current smokers began before age 18, a key imperative is to prevent future generations from starting at all, and parents’ behaviour and attitude to smoking is key in whether or not children will smoke,” he said.

The study also found;

- Only half of smokers with dependant children say they would be very likely to give up if they felt their habit would encourage their kids to smoke, a further 23% said they would be somewhat likely;

- 28 per cent said they are not likely to give up smoking even though this may encourage their children to smoke.

The study was released as part of the HSE’s latest anti-smoking campaign and alongside the launch of the new website www.giveupsmoking.ie.

It provides a plan to help people quit along with information about the health and financial benefits of quitting. It also hosts questionnaires to identify the addiction levels of the smoker and the personal triggers and cravings for smoking.

Other trends uncovered in the research include the fact more than two-thirds of smokers surveyed said they go outside to smoke in the garden, the shed or only when out socialising. Some 15% said they smoked more than 21 cigarettes a day.

The HSE also said 7,000 people die from smoking related disease in Ireland every year.

Catherine Murphy, from the HSE’s health promotion wing, urged people considering quitting to seek help.

“Quitting smoking is a challenge, most smokers will attempt to quit a number of times,” Ms Murphy said.

“We would encourage any smoker trying to quit to seek support and services — the statistics show that smokers who use a smoking cessation service or avail of treatments are much more likely to be successful in quitting.” Aine Brady, junior minister for older people and health promotion, said: “Smoking remains a leading public health problem responsible for much preventable illness and death.

“At a societal level we must continue to support anti-tobacco measures particularly to prevent children from starting to smoke and to assist those smokers where possible in kicking the habit.”

PA 

© 2009 irishtimes.com

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