Make March Your Month to Quit


Make March Your Month to QuitThe Western Trust's Smoking Cessation Team are encouraging smokers to quit smoking and reap the health and financial benefits on this No Smoking Day (Wednesday 13 March 2019).

This year’s No Smoking Day message is about ‘Making March your month to quit’ which is set to inspire smokers to use No Smoking Day as the day they pledge to stop smoking. The Trust’s Smoking Cessation Team has developed effective evidence-based services for people who wish to stop smoking and we would encourage anyone who wishes to take the first steps towards a healthier, Smokefree life for themselves and their families, to avail of the free service.

Smoking Cessation Clinics are ran by specialist stop smoking practitioners who offer ongoing support and advice, help develop a personal quit plan based on the individual’s needs and provide information on stop smoking products, withdrawal symptoms and coping strategies. Weekly Drop-in clinics are available in the following areas:

  • Derry/Londonderry

Carnhill Resource Centre, Monday (excluding bank holidays) from 6pm – 7.30pm and Shared Future Centre, Waterside, Thursday 10am -12noon.

  • Enniskillen

Room 15, South West Acute Hospital, Monday (excluding bank holidays) from 6pm – 7.30pm.

  • Omagh

Meeting Room, ground floor Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex, Tuesday 6pm - 7.30pm.

  • Strabane

Strabane Health Centre, Wednesday 5pm – 6.30pm.

  • Limavady

Limavady Health Centre, Scroggy Road, Wednesday 5pm – 7pm.

This No Smoking Day, the Western Trust is also proud to be celebrating five years Smoke free across all Trust facilities. When the Trust embarked on this Smoke free journey, we knew it would be challenging and it continues to be.  The Trust is now in the process of developing an action plan to bring a reemphasis back to Smoke free so it becomes unthinkable that anyone - staff, patients or visitors would smoke on a Western Trust facility.

One of these actions has been the introduction of a Smoke free Warden at the Altnagelvin Hospital site. Michelle Scott, Smoking Cessation Co-ordinator for the Western Trust has welcomed the warden and believes it is a ‘positive step in the right direction to help promote a smoke free environment’. Michelle said: “The Trust’s Smoking Cessation Team are hopeful that the benefits of a smoke free environment will become more apparent with a warden present and that the warden will be able to highlight and signpost individuals who wish to stop smoking to the free and flexible Stop Smoking Service that the Western Trust provides and make March your month to quit!”

Josie Hughes, Smoking Cessation Nurse Specialist for the Western Trust said: “By having a Smoke free environment and providing stop smoking support services, we are enabling smokers to have the best possible chance of quitting. Research constantly shows smoking to be the single most preventable cause of illness and preventable death with 2,300 people dying each year from smoking related diseases in Northern Ireland. Our smoking cessation team has developed an effective evidence-based service that assists individuals who wish to quit smoking through adopting a non-judgmental, supportive, empathetic and flexible approach.”

Josie added: “I see the damage smoking does and I also see the health benefits of stopping smoking. The positive effects start immediately after the smoker puts out their final cigarette. After only 20 minutes blood pressure returns to normal and after six months the risk of heart attack, cancer and other ‘smoking’ diseases falls. Not only is there enormous health benefits to stopping smoking, there is the additional benefit of savings. On average a 20 a day smoker could save almost £3,500 in a year.”

“Most smokers underestimate the effectiveness of professional help, but more people succeed with our Specialist Stop Smoking service than with any other way. I would encourage anyone motivated to stop smoking to come along - the sooner you stop, the sooner your health will start to improve.”

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland are calling on local smokers to make March their month to quit.

Brendan Bonner, Assistant Director of Public Health, Health Improvement with the PHA, said: “Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing. You will notice positive health changes and have more money in your pocket. Almost 250,000 people in Northern Ireland have been successful in stopping smoking since 2012, so we are calling on people to use March as the perfect opportunity to join them and quit the habit.”

“While we know that stopping smoking can be a challenge, help is at hand. There is a range of services across Northern Ireland that have an excellent track record in helping people to quit. Experienced stop smoking staff provide a friendly, supportive service in a relaxed environment.

“They’ll help design a stop smoking plan that will work best for you to make quitting as easy as possible. This could include Nicotine Replacement Therapy and other support to cope with cravings and enjoy a healthier lifestyle,” he added.

Five top tips to help you quit smoking:  

  • Make a date to give up – and stick to it!
  • Make a plan. Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine- replacement product, and have it ready before the date you plan to stop.
  • Get support from your local stop smoking service.  Also, let your family and friends know that you’re quitting. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful.
  • Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy cigarettes.
  • Treat yourself. If you can, use the money you’re saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special.

Anyone who wants to know more about stopping smoking can call the local helpline on 0800 9179388 where they can speak to a member of the Smoking Cessation Team.

For more information on the services available and useful tips to stop smoking, visit the PHA’s Stop Smoking website at where you can also order a Quit Kit free of charge which will help you plan your quit attempt.