On January 1st 2012, the HSE will broadcast three short films that expose the sad reality of losing a loved one to a tobacco related disease. Produced as part of the HSE’s QUIT campaign, these films feature real people’s stories which focus on one key fact – that 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease.
The broadcast of these short films on New Year’s Day is designed to connect with smokers on the one critical day in the year when many of them will consider quitting. It is also envisaged that the stories told in the films will help family and friends of smokers to encourage their loved ones to quit.
The 3 minute films will be broadcast on the evening of New Year’s Day on RTÉ at 8.45pm during Fair City and at 9.28pm after the 9 O’Clock News, on TV3 at 7.45pm during Family Fortunes and on Universal during Harry’s Law at 9.45pm. They will also be available to view at www.hse.ie, www.quit.ie and at the You Can QUIT facebook page www.facebook.com/HSEquit. The HSE will also use Facebook and Twitter to remind viewers to tune in to the films on TV and the internet.
The QUIT short films tell three different real life stories but focus on one harsh fact; that 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease.
Film 1: Pauline’s story (7.45pm on TV3 and 9.45pm on Universal)
Pauline Bell from Wexford is a mother of two. Three years ago her husband George died from a heart attack at 48 years of age. George was a heavy smoker. Pauline has volunteered to tell her and George’s story as part of the QUIT campaign. She talks about what a great husband he was, how ‘he loved his cigarettes, but never thought that at 48, that would be his time to go’, and how she, her children and their family has been affected by his loss. She hopes to inspire others to quit – for their own health, and to prevent other families experiencing what they have been through. Watch Pauline’s story here http://youtu.be/6mOVwh4Vyeg
Film 2: Gerry’s story (8.45pm on RTÉ 1)
Gerry Collins from Wicklow is MD of Jobsource Recruitment (www.jobsource.ie) and a survivor of throat cancer. In his QUIT film, Gerry describes how he got into smoking as a young man, despite playing Football for Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club and making the Dublin Senior Team at the time. His cancer diagnosis, which came in his early 50s, was a devastating experience, and the treatment was in his own words, ‘pretty severe’. He and his daughters Lisa and Ciara describe how frightening his illness was, and Gerry comments that he ‘has many years ahead of me, and I put that all at risk, by smoking’. Watch Gerry’s story here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lZrw2SKQq4
Film 3: Margaret’s Story (9.28pm RTÉ 1)
Margaret O’Brien is from Kilkenny, and is doing her Leaving Cert this coming summer. Margaret’s Mum Jackie was a long term smoker, and was diagnosed with lung cancer at 45 years of age. Sadly, Jackie passed away only a year later, in the summer of 2010. Margaret has the support of her Dad, John, in taking part in the QUIT campaign, and has previously been involved in fund raising for the Irish Cancer Society – going so far as to shave her head in early 2011 and raising over €2,000 for in the process. In her film, Margaret talks about her Mum, what she misses most about her, and how although she knew smoking was harmful, and it could lead to cancer, she would also have thought – ‘no one could be that unlucky’. Describing the impact of her loss she says, ‘it’s not just for a day, it’s not just for a month, it’s for the rest of my life without her’. Watch Margaret’s story here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAUuxBTZ510
Dr. Fenton Howell, Director of Public Health, HSE outlines why the HSE has taken this approach to the QUIT campaign: ‘Evidence from all over the world has shown the impact that real-life, personal stories, like Pauline, Gerry and Margaret’s, can have on smokers’ drive to quit. We spoke in detail to Irish smokers before we started this campaign, and they told us that this ‘1 in every 2’ statistic was powerful, and that using real-life stories to illustrate it would motivate them to stop smoking. We’re very grateful to all the people who are bringing this campaign to life by telling their stories – they are central to the meaning and success of this campaign.’
Results to date for the QUIT campaign show that the 1 in every 2 statistic has hit home with smokers in Ireland, with many choosing to get help and support for their Quit attempt online and in person. Over 6,500 people have signed up for online QUITplans since the campaign started in June, nearly double that of the same period in 2010. Visits to www.QUIT.ie have increased by over 60% to 58,800 since June and calls to the National Smokers’ Quitline 1850 201 203 – which is run by the Irish Cancer Society, a key partner in this campaign – and referrals to our Smoking Cessation Clinics also increased by 50% compared to last year. The HSE’s You Can QUIT Facebook page was created for this campaign, and has over 14,500 Likes to date, with many of them choosing to share their experiences and seek support from each other. www.facebook.com/HSEquit.
If you want help to QUIT smoking:
Call the National Smokers’ Quitline on 1850 201 203 (open 30th and 31st December, and New Year’s Day; closed Monday 2nd January 2012)
Contact your local HSE smoking cessation counsellor
Talk to your GP, Pharmacist or Dentist
FACTS ABOUT SMOKING
- Smoking is the single biggest cause of illness, disability and death in Ireland. There are about 1 million smokers in Ireland and, each year, 5,500 Irish people die of a tobacco related disease. Many thousands more lives are shattered by the illness, disability and bereavement that cigarettes cause.
- 70% of smokers say they want to quit and 40% try to quit every year. Most people quit successfully after a few attempts, and while many go it alone on will power, those quitters who use supports like our National Smokers’ Quitline, online help, smoking cessation services or medications are twice as likely to succeed.
- Only 7% of people know that 1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco related disease. Our aim in this campaign is to make people realise the effect smoking has on their health, and their loved ones, and give them encouragement and help to QUIT.
- Recent Irish data shows an average cost of €7,700 every time a smoker is admitted to hospital with a tobacco related disease. In 2008, there were over 36,000 such admissions. That cost does not include out-patient costs, GP visits, medicines and other supports provided by the HSE. If we can prevent just 100 of the 36,000 annual admissions to hospital with tobacco related disease, this campaign will pay for itself.
- The QUIT campaign is supported by a wide range of health partners, which include the Irish Cancer Society (who provide the Quitline service), Irish Heart Foundation, Irish College of General Practitioners, Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, Irish Pharmacy Union, Irish Dental Association, ASH Ireland, Asthma Society of Ireland, TobaccoFree Research Institute, Environmental Health Officers Association, National Youth Council of Ireland, Irish Thoracic Society, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Alpha One Foundation, Heads of Psychology Services Ireland, Psychological Society of Ireland
- Evidence from around the world shows that campaigns like this have an important role in reducing smoking rates over their lifetimes. We also know that the tobacco control campaigns which work best are the ones which take a hard-hitting tone, warning of the dangers of smoking – why to quit – and then offer a range of supports to help people to try to stop – how to quit.
- The evidence base for this campaign message comes from a study which is often called “The Doctors Study” (Doll R, Peto R, Wheatley K, Gray R, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smoking: 40 years observations on male British doctors. British Medical Journal 1994; 309:901-911). This study started in 1951 in the UK, had a 40 year follow-up, and was finally published in 1994. It found that we had substantially underestimated the hazards of long term tobacco use. It showed that half of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their habit.
- A further study 10 years later on the same study participants confirmed the findings. In fact, it suggested that the situation might be worse, in that up to two thirds of smokers could be killed by their smoking (Doll R, Peto Boreham J, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years observations on male British doctors. British Medical Journal 2004;328(7455):1519).