Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of death in the world today. There are more than one billion smokers worldwide – that’s one quarter of all adults – and it’s killing up to half the people who smoke.
In Northern Ireland, around 340,000 people aged 16 and over smoke.
Smoking contributes to not only many cancers, heart disease, bronchitis and asthma, but other illnesses, including stroke, which causes around 2,400 deaths per year here, all of them avoidable.
Cigarette smoking is also recognised as a major cause of health inequalities in lower socioeconomic groups and is estimated to account for around 50% of the health inequalities gap. One million working days are lost each year in Northern Ireland due to smoking. However, the good news is the risk of serious disease starts dropping as soon as you stop smoking. Breathing becomes easier and improves as lung function increases, and within one year of quitting, a person’s risk of a heart attack is halved.
The cost to the smoker is clear, with a 20-a-day habit amounting to around £2,000 a year.
Smokers in Northern Ireland spend on average 15% of their income on their habit, and for smokers who are in the lower socioeconomic groups, this equates to a much higher proportion. Smoking in pregnancy is associated with a range of negative outcomes.
Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth, and are more likely to have a baby with low birth weight. (http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/)
WHAT CAN AN EMPLOYER DO?
- Participate in No Smoking Day and provide employees with information about giving up.
- Provide information about smoking cessation services that are available locally.
- Some employers offer active support to employees who are trying to quit, for example: by having a smoking cessation support available during working hours. Indeed an employee can be trained as a Smoking Cessation Advisor. Contact the Smoking Cessation Co-ordinator listed below for further information. Arrange a smoking cessation support group at lunch time.
The workplace smoking cessation service has been set up to provide a free service for employers across Northern Ireland
028 2587 2866 firstname.lastname@example.org
028 9066 3281 email@example.com
- North Down
Mary Campbell Mary.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Mc Manus Kathleen.McManus@westerntrust.hscni.net
02837 414557 Siobhan.email@example.com
- All areas
028 8772 0366 Ciara.firstname.lastname@example.org
Frances Haughey F.Haughey@sgehc.com
Denise Stevenson 07824875458 or 02890 320202 Ext. 3768
- Belfast South