Smokers urged to quit as benefits start 20 mins after last cigarette

Smokers who are planning to kick the habit for good this Lent could feel the benefits just 20 minutes after stubbing out their last cigarette and improve their chances of fighting Covid-19.

Today marks National No Smoking Day and the HSE are calling on people who smoke to prepare to take on the 28-day #TheLastStop no smoking challenge in March.

Research show that four in five people (79%) who smoke intend to kick the habit, and those who succeed in quitting for 28 days are five times more likely to quit for good.

Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Public Health Medicine Specialist, said: “Smoking is incredibly harmful. One in two smokers will die from tobacco-related disease and a smoker can expect to lose on average about 10 years of life due to smoking.

“Each week in Ireland, there are 1,000 smoking-related hospital admissions and this was before the onset of COVID-19. Those who smoke are at higher risk of becoming more ill from COVID-19 including hospital admission, ICU admission and death. Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health, for your future and for your loved ones.”

The good news is that quitting smoking gives you a better fighting chance against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, said: “Most people who smoke want to quit but, for many, the idea of quitting can seem like a big hill to climb. An important step that people often miss out on is the preparation. Setting a date to quit and equipping yourself with the information, tools and supports you need to quit will make a huge difference. Get in touch with the Quit Service now and get ready to quit on March 1st. If you have quit before, you know that you can do it again and this time for good. Finding out about Stop Smoking Medicines and the options available to you gives you the best chance of quitting for good.”

This March, 12 Quit Leaders from across the country will be quitting smoking with support from HSE Quit. You can follow their progress on

The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS and live chat. Smokers can free call 1800 201 203 or visit for stop smoking tips and resources, a free QUIT Kit, and to create a QUIT Plan. Peer-to-peer support is available on the QUIT Facebook Page or on Twitter at HSE QUIT @HSEQuitTeam #TheLastStop #QuitandWin

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