No Smoking Day support in Derry

A former 40-a-day smoker will tomorrow spearhead a drive to help others in Derry kick the habit.

Geraldine Smith, who quit in January of this year after enrolling on the Gasyard Centre’s Quit 4 Life programme, will mark No Smoking Day by encouraging other smokers to consider the financial benefits of giving up.

Geraldine was able to buy a laptop with the money she saved during the 12 week course.

She says the programme, organised in partnership with pharmacist Killian Johnston of Sweeny’s Chemist, gave her the support needed.

“I tried so many times before and failed. I was determined I wanted to quit but felt I needed a bit of support, so once I saw the flyer for the programme I signed up.

“I was apprehensive at first but everyone on the programme was in the same boat as me and we kept each other going each week helped with lots of support from Killian leading the team.”

Now the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum will mark No Smoking Day by again rolling out the campaign funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) in the Triax area of the city.

Karen Mullan, the health Forum’s Programme Manager says other would-be non smokers should be inspired by Geraldine.

“Giving up smoking is never easy but feedback from the participants on our programmes has been positive and if they don’t succeed the first time they know we are here and our door is always open.

“Geraldine is an inspiration to so many local people who are looking to quit and we hope by her heading our campaign it will give others the wee push they need.”

The local campaign is asking smokers to think about what they could buy if they did not smoke.

Brendan Bonner, Head of Health & Social Wellbeing (West) at the Public Health Agency (PHA) says smokers can make massive savings by kicking the habit.

“The price of cigarettes is the main reason people give for considering quitting. Quitting smoking will give a 20 a day smoker an extra £42 a week which adds up to an extra £2,184 extra a year.

“No Smoking Day is an excellent opportunity for the many who want to stop smoking to actually quit and to save money in the process.”

If you are interested in joining the Quit 4 Life programme or would like any information contact Karen on 7136 5330 or email

Meanwhile, a Derry based support group and one of the city’s leading pharmacies have teamed up to help smokers quit.

Breathe Easy Derry, which supports people living with lung disease, and Medicare Pharmacy at Rathmor, are offering free stop smoking support including the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy at a special event to mark No Smoking Day.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm tomorrow at the Rathmor Shopping Centre.

Tomorrow’s support session, organised by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) in Northern Ireland, which runs the Breathe Easy group, forms part of the group’s 4,000 reasons campaign - highlighting the fact that every time a smoker has a cigarette they are inhaling more than 4,000 chemicals, commonly found in such products as paint stripper and nail polish remover.