Greystones smokers are kicking the habit
THERE ARE over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette – 60 of which are known to cause cancer.
Those who need help to stop smoking have turned to the Greystones Cancer Support Centre, where a weekly course is underway to assist its members in doing just that.
A group of 10 people desperate to kick the habit have completed two weeks of a six-week course with counsellor Jacinta Barnwell.
The Delgany woman, who has a background in nursing and training in addiction counselling, is there to provide the support the smokers need to stay off the fags.
They receive information from Jacinta including advice and tips on handling cravings, and they share their own experiences in a friendly group.
‘We approach it together,’ said Jacinta, who is armed with an artillery of coping strategies and plans.
She said that most people will stop smoking around the middle of the course, and they support each other through the next few weeks.
Jacinta is an advocate of nicotine replacement therapy such as the patch. ‘It needs to be tailored to the individual,’ she warned. ‘If the therapy is not used correctly it could discourage the person.’ While studies say that nicotine replacement therapy doubles the success rate, in Jacinta’s experience it is even more than that. ‘It is available free to medical card holders,’ she advised.
It gives her huge satisfaction when one of her clients successfully puts cigarettes behind them. ‘Smokers lose their power and when they reclaim that power it’s wonderful,’ she remarked, adding that the group members can be guaranteed the strictest confidence.
‘Become aware of each cigarette you smoke,’ suggested Jacinta. ‘Often it might not be a cigarette you need but food, drink, a break or even a hug.’
She also said that she teaches her clients the ‘four Ds,’ – Delay, Distract, Deep Breathing, Drink of Water or Juice.
‘Seven out of ten smokers are desperate to quit,’ she said.
While enrolment has closed for the current session, Greystones Cancer Support hopes to hold more courses over the coming year.
The Irish Cancer Society operates a ‘quit line’ for those who need the encouragement to tackle their addiction. The quitline is 1850 201 203 and is open Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Greystones Cancer Support can be contacted on 01 2871601.