Quit smoking for your heart health

By June Shannon Policy News   |   17th Feb 2021

Benefits of quitting smoking begin just 20 minutes after stubbing out your last cigarette

On National No Smoking Day (Wednesday 17 February) the Irish Heart Foundation is reminding smokers of the many benefits of quitting smoking for heart health.

Research from the HSE has shown that 79 per cent of smokers want to give up and the vast majority (83 per cent) regret ever starting.

HSE research has also shown that four in five people (79 per cent) 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.

“The benefits from quitting happen almost immediately, even 20 minutes after you quit that last cigarette. Your  blood pressure and pulse return to normal, while the risk of heart attack begins to fall just one day later,” said Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation.

Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Research has shown that one in two smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease and in Ireland nearly 6,000 people die each year from the effects of smoking. Thousands more suffer from smoking-related diseases and second-hand smoking.

“ The benefits from quitting happen almost immediately, even 20 minutes after you quit that last cigarette,"

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director , The Irish Heart Foundation

“Nicotine from cigarettes provides a temporary – and addictive – high and given that nicotine is a highly addictive drug, smokers can find quitting extremely difficult and often fall back into old habits and eventually return to smoking. This means smoking tobacco is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit,” Dr Brown said.

“Quitting smoking not only reduces the risk of life-threatening diseases, but it improves your sense of taste and smell, you will have better skin, teeth and hair and you will instantly save money. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs almost €5,000 a year,” Dr Brown added.

Smokers who want to quit do not have to do it alone, there is valuable help out there.

Quit.ie is Ireland’s dedicated smoking cessation service and smokers can give themselves the best chance of stopping by following the plan, which sees thousands of people successfully give up each year.

The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS and live chat. Smokers can free call 1800 201 203 or visit www.QUIT.ie 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 www.facebook.com/HSEQUIT or on Twitter at HSE QUIT @HSEQuitTeam  #TheLastStop #QuitandWin.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s seven tips for quitting smoking:

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heart disease National no smoking day quit smoking smoking stroke

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