Grey­stones smokers are kick­ing the habit

Bray People - - News - Mary FOG­A­RTY

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.

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