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Public encouraged to consider quitting smoking on 15th anniversary of smoking ban

26 April 2022
  Derry City and Strabane District Council have teamed up with the Public Health Agency and the Western Trust to encourage people to stop smoking on the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the Northern Ireland Smoking Order.
 
For the past 15 years it has been an offence to smoke in any workplace, including vehicles, or in any public space that is substantially enclosed.
 
The order had a particular impact on the hospitality industry where people could no longer smoke indoors in bars and restaurants.
 
Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke, said the anniversary was an opportune time for people to explore the support available to cut down on or quit the habit for good.
 
"The Smoking Order came into force on 30th April 2007 and its benefits were felt almost immediately across our workplaces and entertainment and social venues," he said.
 
"The legislation has dramatically reduced exposure to second hand smoke, particularly in workplaces and on public transport and has also acted as a reminder to the public of the health risks associated with smoking.
 
The Department of Health has been working on a 10 Year Tobacco Strategy for NI, the main aims of which are to have fewer people starting to smoke, more smokers quitting and protecting people from tobacco smoke.
 
A mid-term report of the strategy in 2018 revealed favourable results about the proportion of the population who smoke, including a 6% reduction in the number of adults from 24% to 18%.
 
On February 1st this year two new pieces of associated legislation were introduced.
 
The first extends current smoke-free provisions to private vehicles where children are present, when there is more than one person in the vehicle, and the vehicle is enclosed. It is an offence to smoke in such a vehicle and will also be an offence for a driver to fail to prevent smoking in a smoke-free private vehicle.
 
Since February 1st it has also been an offence to sell nicotine inhaling products to children and to purchase, or attempt to purchase, such products on behalf of a child.
 
Derry City and Strabane District Council ensures workplaces and retailers comply with smoke free and tobacco control legislation and works closely with colleagues in the PHA and Western Trust's Smoking Cessation Services, as well as pharmacies and GPs, to encourage people to increase their chances of quitting.
 
Colette Rogers, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control, from the Public Health Agency said “On this, the 15 year anniversary of the NI Smoking Order, we are encouraging people to consider embarking on a quit attempt and improve their overall health. With the recent introduction of new legislation to protect children from second hand smoke in cars, maybe you’ve already been thinking about trying to quit and this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to set a quit date and quit for good.” 
 
Colette continued “There is a lot of free professional support available throughout Northern Ireland for those who want to quit and you can find information about your nearest service at www.stopsmokingni.info . We know quitting isn’t easy and it can often take several attempts to be successful, so if you have tried previously, please don’t be discouraged from trying again.”
 
Michelle Scott, smoking cessation co-ordinator for the Western Trust said “We are delighted to mark the 15th anniversary of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s smoke free status. At the Western Trust we also promote smoke free and vape free policies within our grounds. Smoking prevalence over the past 15 years has been steadily declining however there are still people who smoke and vape who would like to stop. Support is out there and we would encourage anyone over the age of 12 who would like support or further information to contact our dedicated helpline number on 08009179388.”
 
Michelle added “We have on hand a team of dedicated nurse specialists who will help guide you through a tailor made 12 week programme providing support, motivation and stop smoking medication if required. Other points of contact for those wishing to quit are your local G.P or any smoking cessation pharmacy / chemist that offers smoking cessation support.”
  
For advice on quitting, contact the Western Trust's Smoking Cessation Service helpline number on 080091793 where a team of dedicated nurse specialists will help guide you through a tailor made 12 week programme providing support, motivation and stop smoking medication if required.
 
Other points of contact for those wishing to quit are your local G.P or any smoking cessation pharmacy / chemist that offers smoking cessation support.
 
Further information and advice on quitting visit www.stopsmokingni.info