The Mayor of Derry & Strabane Hilary McClintock has joined others to mark 10 year anniversary of Derry becoming a ‘smoke-free’ zone.
Back in 2007, legislation came into effect to ensure that all enclosed work spaces, including vehicles, would become smoke free, in a bid to reduce the health impacts of smoking, particularly in relation to passive smoking.
Mayor McClintock said: “It is hard to believe that conditions were so different 10 years ago when it was acceptable for people to smoke in workplaces, cinemas, and even hospitals.
“I think the move has acted as a major catalyst in raising awareness about the dangers of smoking, particularly to children.”
More than 2,300 people die in the north each year from smoking related illnesses - this equates to more than six people a day and 44 people every week.
Tobacco Control officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Conor Logue, said: “The law has been widely supported by local businesses and the public since it was introduced ten years ago, and it’s recognised that the benefits to health have been significant.
“However we want to emphasise that thousands of adults and children continue to be exposed to second hand smoke in homes and vehicles, meaning that passive smoking remains a substantial cause of mortality and ill health.”
The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) became the first smoke free Trust in Northern Ireland, launching its Smokefree policy in March 2014.
This means that staff, patients and visitors are not permitted to smoke anywhere on Trust premises.
Dr Maura O’Neill, Head of Service and Chair of the Smokefree Committee, Western Trust, said: “A smoke free Trust means cleaner and more pleasant environments and also offers real improvements to the health of those smokers who decide to ‘kick the habit’ for good. Help and support from the Western Trust’s Stop Smoking Team is available for staff, patients, visitors and the local community.”
The Western Trust offers a range of services to smokers who want to find out more about stopping. These include community Drop In clinics staffed by specialist nurses who can provide help and advice around nicotine replacement products as well as ongoing support to those who want to quit.
To speak to a healthcare professional or the Stop Smoking Team, call the helpline on 08009179388.