A survey of smokers conducted as part of the study suggested that while 79% have decided to quit smoking this year, two in five have set the goal to quit for 28 days. “The HSE Quit Service is here to help by providing the tools and supports to make it possible. This practical support and resources give the best chance of making it to Day 28 and once you reach that, you are well on the way to long-term success and the benefits of a smoke-free life,” said Martina Blake, national lead at the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme.
Sadly, 5% of former smokers have relapsed and started smoking again during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Most people who smoke want to quit but for many the idea of quitting can seem impossible. We know however, that smoking isn’t just an unhealthy habit that you need to break. There are the physical cravings for nicotine, the psychological dependence and the emotional dependence, which all need to be worked on when quitting,” she added.
In May 2020, menthol cigarettes, rolling tobacco and irregularly shaped cigarettes such as slims, were banned across Ireland. The move was part of a four year phasing-out period by the EU TPD which entered into force on May 2014 and became applicable across the EU in May 2016. Chair of the Policy Group on Tobacco at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Professor Des Cox, said the ban was welcomed as menthols make smoking initiation easier.
“There’s been good research which demonstrates that young people are introduced to smoking often by menthol cigarettes as they find them more attractive, they find them less irritative and they find them more palatable, so that’s a way they get introduced to regular smoking. Also the cigarette companies today have targeted women with these products so we strongly feel that they should be banned and welcome the government’s decision to take this legislation forward,” said Cox.
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