Average of £49 a week up in smoke

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SMOKERS are to be reminded how much money they spend on their habit in the government’s latest attempt to cut the number of people who light up.

No Smoking Day’s theme this year is ‘Swap Fags for Swag’.

Focus groups showed that the cost of smoking is one of the main drivers for quitting. While health and family are also high on the list, it is the cost which gives many people the final incentive to quit.

The campaign is based on an average packet of cigarettes costing £7, and highlights what you could buy if you quit smoking for one day, one week, three months and a year. This ranges from a ‘swanky new lipstick’ or ‘taking the kids to the cinema’, to buying a ‘new TV’ or ‘taking the holiday of a lifetime’.

On Saturday, between noon and 3pm, as part of the island’s No Smoking Day activities, advisors from the Quit4You Stop Smoking Service will be based in Regent Street in Douglas, working from the Ambulance Service’s health improvement vehicle. They will be offering free carbon monoxide readings, plenty of tips to quit smoking, and a competition guessing the cost of cigarettes.

There will also be a ‘Big Cigarette’ parading in Strand Street, and balloons to giveaway.

On Wednesday next week, the Quit4You Team will be at the Isle of Man College’s health fair between 9.30am and 1pm; in Noble’s Hospital foyer between 12.30pm and 2pm, and at Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital’s training toom from 4pm to 5pm with the public welcome to come along to find out more information and support on offer.

Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK, said: ‘It’s important to remember that No Smoking Day is not about pressurising people to quit, but letting people know about free help and support that’s available if they do want to take that first step. Evidence shows that people are four times more likely to quit smoking if they combine using a product, such as nicotine replacement therapy, with sessions at their local stop smoking services.’

Anita Imberger, tobacco strategy coordinator, said: ‘Our Quit4You Team offer weekly drop-in clinics all around the island, providing practical advice, support and encouragement to anyone who wants to quit, and they’ll be available in Regent Street as well on March 9.’

As part of No Smoking Day activities, primary schools in the island were also invited to take part in a UK competition to design a poster around the theme of ‘What would you do with £49?’, which is the money the average smoker spends on cigarettes each week.

For more information about our local Stop Smoking Service, visit www.Quit4You.gov.im, phone Quit4You (Public Health) on 642404, or e-mail tobacco@gov.im.

For No Smoking Day posters or leaflets for your area, phone public health resources on 642645.

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