Wednesday 8th March is No Smoking Day, and across Northern Ireland, thousands of people will make the decision to stop smoking and improve their health. Although some manage on their own, many need support to overcome nicotine addiction.
That’s the estimated number of people who die every year in Northern Ireland due to smoking-related diseases.
That's how many smokers it's estimated will die as a result of their habit.
Those are shocking statistics - and they make you wonder why anyone smokes. However for many people, stopping smoking can be extremely difficult - because of the highly addictive nature of nicotine.
When cigarette smoke is inhaled, the nicotine alters chemicals in the brain which causes mood and concentration levels to change. Many smokers find this enjoyable and the more you smoke, the more your brain becomes used to the nicotine which makes stopping smoking so difficult.
Kick the Habit
To help smokers kick their habit, community pharmacies across Northern Ireland - including every single pharmacy in our chain - offer a 12-week Smoking Cessation Programme. THIS IS A SERVICE WHICH IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC - stopping smoking via this programme won't cost you a penny!
At Gordons Chemists, we offer a personal, individually-tailored support, advice and where suitable, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), from our specially trained staff.
The programme we offer consists of 5 steps:
* Step 1: An initial assessment is carried out by a specially trained member of the pharmacy team and advice provided.
* Step 2: The client meets with the pharmacist who decides if NRT is appropriate and which product is likely to be of most benefit. The client and pharmacist agree on a ‘quit date’.
* Step 3: The Cessation Programme weeks 1-12: The client attends the pharmacy each week for advice, support and encouragement, and NRT supply if required. NRT is available in patches, chewing gum, lozenges, tablets, sprays and inhalators.
* Step 4: Four weeks after their quit date the client is contacted to determine their smoking status and provide additional advice and support. Also, a measurement of carbon monoxide is taken from the participant (by blowing into an in-store meter - this gives a good indication of how well they are progressing.
Ideally the amount of NRT required will reduce weekly until the end of the course when it is hoped the person will be a non-smoker.
*Step 5: 52 weeks after their quit date clients who remain successfully quit at four weeks are again contacted to determine their current smoking status.
Josh Mulligan, Health Promotion Officer at Action Cancer says,
“Quitting smoking can have a positive effect on your body almost instantly; your blood pressure can return to normal after just a couple of hours, your lungs start to become healthier over time and your risk of heart disease, strokes and many other serious illnesses will be significantly reduced also. After just one year of quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk of a heart attack by half compared to that of a smoker.
"In addition, with approximately 90% of lung cancer cases occurring from smoking and with an estimate of between £2-3000 being spent each year on cigarettes per smoker, No Smoking Day will hopefully encourage smokers to want to quit and save a lot of well-earned money! Finally, it should be acknowledged that the risk of cancer occurring will be reduced by half after quitting for approximately 10 years.”
As well as improving your health, stopping smoking can lead to younger looking skin, whiter teeth, improved smell and taste and better breathing.
It’s never too late to stop smoking. Even if you’re a heavy smoker or someone who has smoked for much of their life (and even if you fit into both camps!), you can increase your life expectancy and improve your health (provided you stop before you develop cancer or other serious illness).
For more information about Gordons Chemists Smoking Cessation Programme call in to your local store and ask to speak to a member of our pharmacy team.