Butler urges smokers to be proud quitters

Roy Beggs MLA, Carla Lockhart MLA, Robbie Butler MLA, Gerry McElwee from Cancer Focus NI and Paula Bradshaw MLA.
Roy Beggs MLA, Carla Lockhart MLA, Robbie Butler MLA, Gerry McElwee from Cancer Focus NI and Paula Bradshaw MLA.

Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler has backed Cancer Focus Northern Ireland’s call to local smokers to stub out their cigarettes and become ‘Proud Quitters’.

The UUP man voiced his support for the campaign on No Smoking Day, March 14.

Smoking causes 25 per cent of all cancers in Northern Ireland and is our greatest cause of preventable death and disease, the charity warned.

Not only that, but a 20-a-day smoker who decides to quit could save themselves around £3,500 a year.

Cancer Focus NI’s Naomi Thompson says: “Stopping smoking is the most important thing you can do to improve your health.

“Most smokers want to stop - there are just so many health benefits. Twenty four hours after stopping, lungs start clearing out your build-up of mucus and within three to nine months, your lungs will absorb up to 10 per cent more oxygen.”

She added: “Smokers are four times more likely to quit if they get help, and we have been providing that support for more than 40 years, consistently getting a 68 per cent quit rate in four weeks.

“If you aren’t quite ready to stop on March 14, you can pick a new date and Cancer Focus NI is more than happy to help and give you lots of tried and tested tips to make quitting that bit easier.

“We will look at coping with cravings, managing stress, avoiding weight gain and developing a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to face it alone.”

Cancer Focus NI’s award-winning stop smoking service is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA). More than 70 per cent of all people who attempt to quit smoking use services provided by Community Pharmacy including local MediCare Pharmacy Group branches. Quit smoking services are also available in GP practices, health and wellbeing centres, community, workplace and youth settings including schools.

No Smoking Day is coordinated in Northern Ireland by Cancer Focus NI. Cancer Focus NI, the Public Health Agency, the Healthy Living Centre Alliance and Health and Social Care Trusts, Environmental Health and local councils are all members of the local No Smoking Day Coordinating Committee.

For more information on the services available and useful tips to stop smoking, visit www.cancerfocusni.org/stopsmoking, or the Public Health Agency Want 2 Stop website at www.want2stop.info where you can also order a Quit Kit free of charge which will help you plan your quit attempt.