WATCH: latest QUIT campaign channels disco queen

The campaign highlights the fact that - for the first time - there are now more quitters than smokers in Ireland

WATCH: latest QUIT campaign channels disco queen

Amanda White. Image: Quit.ie

The Minister for Health has warned that 6,000 people die every year in Ireland as a result of tobacco addiction.

Simon Harris launched the latest HSE QUIT Campaign to help smokers join the growing legion of people who have been able to kick the habit.

The campaign highlights the fact that there are now more quitters than smokers in Ireland – with a range of supports available for those who want to quit.

Minister Harris said the data shows that half of all smokers in Ireland have reported making a quit attempt.

“Our tobacco policy, ‘Tobacco Free Ireland,’ sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free by 2025,” he said. “In practice, this means a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%.”

“This is an ambitious target.  But Ireland’s ambition has made us international leaders in this policy area and - with 6,000 lives at stake each year - ambition is the only option.”

He credited the “denormalisation” of smoking with a 4% drop in the number of children that smoke.

“The current generation of young people have grown up without knowing what it was like to smoke in pubs and restaurants,” he said.

“They have grown up without seeing tobacco packs displayed behind shop counters.

“Those reaching school-age now will grow up without the heavily branded tobacco packs and see cigarette packs in plain packaging.”

The minister said that smoking remains the biggest cause of illness, disability and death in Ireland:

  • Smokers making up 23% of the population - with approximately 19% of people smoking every day.
  • 6,000 people die as a result of smoking every year.
  • “Many hundreds of thousands” of people are living with long-term disability caused by smoking.
  • The majority of smokers are aware of the health implications and are planning to quit.
  • Smoking cost Ireland’s health service €500m every year.
  • The largest group of smokers (33%) are aged between 25 and 34-years-old.

The HSE’s head of national tobacco control, Martina Blake said the new campaign celebrates the “growing, supportive community of quitters across the country, many of whom work hard to support each other as they face their next quit attempt.”

She said this is the first time in the history of the state that Ireland can boast more quitters than smokers:

“The campaign features a cast, including some real life ex-smokers, who generously share their experience of quitting to inspire others,” she said

Ms Blake said Gloria Gaynor’s hit ‘I Will Survive’ was chosen for the campaign as it mirrors the feelings many smokers go through on their journey to freedom from tobacco.

“We also believe that using music in this campaign will mirror the uplift, pride and joy that we know people feel when they quit for good,” she said.

The HSE QUIT campaign aims to encourage smokers to join the friends around them who have “made the leap” with a host of people and supports available free of charge to help.

You can call the QUIT Team on free phone 1800 201 203 or visit quit.ie to view personal stories from the campaign, get smoking cessation tips and create a personalised quit plan.

Quitters can also get peer-to-peer supports at the HSE QUIT Facebook and Twitter pages.