Be Proud to be a Quitter this No Smoking Day!
That’s the estimated number of people who die each year in Northern Ireland, due to smoking-related diseases. It’s a shocking statistic, but for many people, stopping smoking can be extremely difficult - because of the addictiveness of nicotine.
When you inhale cigarette smoke, the nicotine alters chemicals in your brain, which causes your 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.
Wednesday 11th March 2015 is National No Smoking Day. Across Northern Ireland, thousands of people will make the decision to stop smoking and improve their health!
Some of these 'Quitters' manage on their own, however for many a bit of additional support will make the difference in helping them to overcome their nicotine addiction.
The Smoking Cessation Programme
To help you kick the habit, we're pleased to be able to offer you access to a 12-week smoking cessation programme - FREE to the public - in all of our pharmacies. If you're serious about stopping smoking, we offer personalised support that's individually tailored for you!. This includes advice and when it's suitable, FREE nicotine replacement therapy. In Northern Ireland, 3 out of every 4 people who sign up to the Smoking Cessation Programme do so through their local pharmacy.
It's been proven that when a person signs up to this Smoking Cessation Programme, they're 4 times more likely to stop smoking for good!
Why Stop Smoking?
As well as improving your health and greatly reducing the risk of serious illness, stopping smoking can lead to younger looking skin, whiter teeth, an improved sense of smell and taste, and better breathing.
It’s never too late to stop smoking!
We commonly hear from our customers their misconceptions about it being too late to quit. A common reason for not deciding to quit smoking is that "there's no point! I've been smoking 20-a-day for the last 10 years!"
You can improve your all-round health - and increase your life expectancy - no matter at what age you decide to give up (provided you stop before you develop cancer or other serious illness).
Meet Some of our Quitters!
We've had lots of people sign-up to the Smoking Cessation Programme offered in our pharmacies. Not everyone is successful in quitting, but if they do sign up with us, they're 4 times more likely to be successful than if they do it "Cold Turkey".
Lee - a young father from Donaghadee:
The determination to stay healthy and active for his young son convinced IT worker and keen golfer Lee Cummings (39) from Donaghadee, to join the Smoking Cessation Programme by visiting his local Gordons Chemists in Donaghadee.
“My son Dylan (3) is starting to grow up fast and I want to be able to do things such as play football and golf with him, without getting out of breath,” says Lee.
“The past two months since I’ve stopped smoking have been incredible. I feel 100% better and find it much easier to walk around a hilly golf course.
“I had been smoking 10 or 15 cigarettes a day since I was 19, and had tried and failed to stop last year. I went cold turkey - without using any nicotine replacement therapy or listening to outside support - and unfortunately I started smoking again.
“Just after Christmas, I decided to give stopping another go and joined the Smoking Cessation Programme in Gordons Chemists. I was given lots of really good advice and encouragement, as well as nicotine patches which were brilliant at taking the edge off the cravings.
"The first month was fine, but of course there have been a few times that I’ve been tempted to have a cigarette. I'm very proud to be able to say that I haven’t given in, and that’s down to the support of the Gordons Chemists pharmacists providing this service!
"Going into my local chemists is much more convenient than going to my GP or surgery clinic. And because Gordons Chemists have stores all over the province, I was able to sign up in a branch near to where I work and could go along once a week - at a time that suited me - to collect my patches, have my progress monitored and receive encouragement and support.
"I’m coming to the end of the 12-week programme now and I'm about to start using the lower strength patches – I started on 14mg and will be going down to 7mg. Thanks to Gordons Chemists, I’m feeling really positive about the future. I am confident that this time, I’ve given up smoking for good!”
Lisa - a mum of 3, from Newcastle, Co. Down
Three years ago, mum-of-three Lisa Doyle (33) from Newcastle, signed up to the Smoking Cessation Programme provided in her local Gordons Chemists - and successfully quit her 30-a-day habit.
“I'd been a smoker since I was in my teens and I had tried to stop lots of times before - without success,” says Lisa.
“My three children - aged between 9 and 17 years - had been nagging me to quit for some time as they had been learning about the dangers of smoking at school. I also knew of a girl who was suffering from severe lung problems and that really scared me.
“I had heard about the Smoking Cessation Programme from friends and one day when I was in Gordons Chemists in Newcastle - just doing some shopping - I got chatting to the pharmacist there and decided to give it a go there and then.
“I did find it tough, but being on the programme really focused my mind on stopping for good and it was great to have Teresa (pharmacist) encouraging and supporting me. I'm always in and out of the store for toiletries and make up, and I know all the staff really well. Because it was through my local pharmarcy, I found that the programme had a more personal touch and it was less intimidating (and a lot more convenient) than going to my GP or health clinic. It was like meeting a good friend every week and having them keep you motivated and determined.
"Initially, I started using nicotine patches, which really eased the cravings. I also used an inhalator, which was really helpful when I was out socialising.
"I noticed a difference in my health very quickly. Before I stopped smoking, I had started feeling a bit breathless when I was going up and down the stairs. Now I have started running in the mountains – something I would never have been able to do before!
"I know I couldn’t have done it without the support of Teresa and her team in my local pharmacy. The programme was a real incentive and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to quit.
John - a pensioner from Newcastle, Co. Down
Pensioner John O’Hare is on his final week of the Smoking Cessation Programme provided by Gordons Chemist. Now in his 70s, he decided to quit due to breathing difficulties.
“I had been a smoker since I was in my 20s,” says John, who lives in Newcastle. Since I retired, I had started rolling my own cigarettes and was actually smoking more than I ever did before. My health was really suffering, and I had started to get very breathless.
“My youngest son had also been a smoker. He gave up the habit two years ago, and it was him who encouraged me to try to quit. My last cigarette was on New Year’s Eve and shortly after, I signed up for the Smoking Cessation Programme in Gordons Chemist.
“I had been using an E-cigarette, but since joining the programme, I’ve been able to give that up as well and just use nicotine patches, which have really helped. I go into the store every week to collect my patches. I also have a chat with Teresa - tell her how I’m getting on, and any particular difficulties that I’m having. It's a friendly, personal service, and I really feel that Teresa is personally interested in how I am getting on.
"I can’t recommend the Smoking Cessation Programme highly enough. The staff in Gordons Chemists are genuinely caring and supportive. It’s a much more friendly service than you get at a doctor’s surgery or health clinic. Although I have tried stopping many times over the years – sometimes for a few years at a time – the service offered by Gordons Chemists has made me more determined that this time, it will really be for good.”
About the Smoking Cessation Programme offered in your local Gordons Chemists
Step 1: An initial assessment is carried out by a specially trained member of the pharmacy team, and advice is given .
Step 2: The customer meets with the pharmacist who decides if Nicotine Replacement Therapy is appropriate, and which specific product is likely to be of most benefit. The customer and the pharmacist together agree on a ‘quit date’.
Step 3: The Smoking Cessation Programme - Weeks 1-12:
The customer visits the pharmacy each week for advice, support and encouragement. At the same time, their Nicotine Replacement Therapy products are supplied if required. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available in patches, chewing gum, lozenges, tablets, sprays and inhalators.
Step 4: Follow-Up
Four weeks after their quit date, the customer is contacted to see how they are getting on in their journey to quit. Further advice and support will also be provided. Also, we take a measurement of carbon monoxide from the customer by having them blow into a meter - this gives a good indication of how well they are progressing.
Ideally the amount of Nicotine Replacement Therapy required will reduce weekly until the end of the course - when it is hoped the person will be a non-smoker.
Step 5: One Year On!
52 weeks after their quit date, customers who had successfully stopped smoking at four weeks are again contacted to determine their current smoking status.