Smoking Cessation

Smoking Cessation

When you stop smoking, the benefits to your health begin straight away. 

There are three stages to giving up smoking:

  1. preparing to stop
  2. stopping
  3. stopping permanently 

It can take up to three months to become a non-smoker. The physical craving for a cigarette often disappears in less than a week, but the psychological craving can last longer. 

The HSE Quit Programme can help you stop smoking for good. Whether you’ve tried to quit before or this is your first attempt, they can offer you support and encouragement. 

The programme includes a plan to help you give up, and tailored support along the way. You can contact the Quit Programme via phone, live chat, email or social media - or sign up to the Quit Plan and ask them to call you back.

Freephone:1800 201 203

Freetext: QUIT to 50100


Twitter: @HSEQuitTeam

Why you should stop smoking

Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which is highly addictive, estimated to be as addictive as cocaine. As well as nicotine, each cigarette contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are toxic (harmful to the body). More than 60 of them cause cancer (are carcinogenic). 

Smoking is responsible for many conditions including:

  • 85-90% of all cases of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
  • Affecting the supply of blood to your brain, heart and arteries causing dementia, stroke and heart attacks
  • Skin wrinkling
  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
  • Macular degeneration- breakdown of the light-sensitive layer of the eye, causing gradual blindness
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - a long-term lung disease,
  • Periodontitis - a serious type of gum disease

No safe limit:

Some people who smoke only occasionally wrongly believe they are not threatening their health. If you only smoke one cigarette a day, you are still 30% more likely to develop coronary heart disease compared with a non-smoker.

When you stop smoking

  • After one month your skin will be clearer, brighter and more hydrated.
  • After three to nine months your breathing will have improved.
  • After one year your risk of heart attack and heart disease will have fallen to about half that of a smoker.
  • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer will have fallen by half.
  • After 15 years your risk of heart attack and heart disease will be the same as someone who has never smoked.

Research into smoking shows that people who quit smoking before age 35 have a life expectancy that is only slightly less than people who have never smoked. 

More information

Why you should quit smoking

HSE Quit programme

Overcoming cravings