Press Release

Support for smokers wishing to quit with the launch of the national smoking cessation campaign

Today (October 30th 2003) the Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D. launched a new National Smoking Cessation campaign Every Cigarette is Doing You Damage describing it as “the most comprehensive, hard hitting and wide ranging smoking cessation campaign ever undertaken by the Health Promotion Unit of my Department”.

The campaign introduces from today the first National Smokers´ Quitline, as a first line support system for all smokers who want to quit, and a national advertising campaign.

In addition to raising awareness of the health damages from smoking, this campaign offers smoker´s support through the National Smokers´ Quitline.

National Smokers´ Quitline

Callers to the Quitline on 1850 201 203, can receive confidential advice on quitting, a free information pack, and referral to local smoking cessation services. The National Smokers Quitline is an initiative of the Health Promotion Unit of the Department of Health and Children in partnership with the Irish Cancer Society.

The National Smokers´ Quitline will be operational from8am to 10pm, seven days a week. The Department of Health anticipates 700 calls per day during the National Smoking Cessation advertisement campaign.

The Minister said “that for the price of a local call, a small fraction of the price of a packet of cigarettes, smokers can start to reap the benefits of a smoke free life”.

National advertisement campaign

The National Smoking Cessation advertising campaign comprises of three television commercials, two of which highlight the effects of smoking on the brain and the aorta. The third promotes the support available to smokers wanting to quit.

The television commercials will run across RTE, tvthree and SKY, during primetime slots from 3 November to middle January 2004 with the outdoor advertising complementing and running in conjunction with the television executions. Radio will promote the quitline number.

The new campaign was developed by the National Smoking Cessation Steering Committee chaired by the Health Promotion Unit, with representatives from voluntary and professional organizations.

Speaking at the launch event, Minster Martin commented, “That while the prevalence of smoking in Ireland has fallen by 4% in the last four years there is no room for complacency on the health damage from smoking and the burden it places on individuals and the health services. This campaign while bringing home the stark realities of smoking in a memorable, impactful and perhaps disturbing way does offer support to smokers to quit. I would urge smokers whether they are considering or actually attempting to quit to avail of the National Smokers´ Quitline.”