Stop smoking numbers have surged in Northern Ireland.
New NHS figures reveal a 10% jump in people giving up the habit. More than half have been successful over the past year. Others have either cut down, or planned to make a fresh attempt to stop smoking.
Smoking cessation services have been a massive help. Figures for 2009 and 2010 show that 23,383 people have set a quit date through stop smoking services – an increase of 2,111 on the previous year.
Northern Ireland’s smoking ban is likely to have encouraged people to give up. Smoking is banned in pubs, restaurants, workplaces and other public indoor areas in Northern Ireland, as it has been in the entire UK since 2007.
Research shows that the vast majority of smokers in Northern Ireland wish to stop smoking. Those who take the plunge and do so benefit from a dramatically reduced risk of certain health problems. Their risk of heart attack is cut in half after a year without smoking.
Between 2,700 and 3,000 people die each year from tobacco use in Northern Ireland. Lung cancer, which is most commonly caused by smoking, kills 800 people every year in Northern Ireland.
Quarter of all adults in Northern Ireland smoke. Most fall within the 20-30 year old age range.
Government-run stop smoking services are available from GPs and pharmacies in Northern Ireland. A free helpline also operates. Specially trained staff are available on the line. The Ulster Cancer Foundation also provides information and advice about quitting smoking. Stop smoking aids like Champix can assist people looking to stop smoking.