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One year on: 'If even one person stops smoking, then it will all be worth it’

It’s one year since the death of Gerry Collins, but he continues to inspire people to quit smoking.

MANY WILL REMEMBER the face of Gerry Collins from the hard-hitting and poignant no smoking campaign adverts on television.

Looking down the camera, he says:

Don’t smoke, don’t start and if you have, stop.

This advert has inspired thousands of people to give up smoking, the Health Service Executive said today.

Gerry Collins died from tobacco-related lung cancer one year ago today. 

The Health Service Executive (HSE) today offered its sympathy, gratitude and thanks to the Collins family for agreeing to take part in the campaign.

HSE Ireland / YouTube

Smoking rates have reduced by 70,000 since the adverts were first shown.

Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director of Health and Wellbeing said Gerry and his family made a courageous and unique contribution to the health and wellbeing of society by allowing Irish people to share their most difficult days during 2013 and 2014.

By working with us on the QUIT campaign to create hard-hitting and powerful anti-smoking ads, they have created a legacy of which Gerry was and would continue to be very proud.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to his family and friends on Gerry’s anniversary for the enormous contribution they have made to reducing tobacco use in Ireland.

HSE Ireland / YouTube

The HSE National Tobacco Lead, Dave Molloy said the response to the ads has been “extraordinary”.

He said based on uptake of services, it’s estimated over 200,000 quit attempts were made in Ireland since the ads commenced.

The number of smokers reduced in 2014 by 70,000 smokers – the largest decrease seen since 2009.

“We know that Gerry has saved lives and helped many people avoid the pain, illness and loss that are caused by smoking,” said Molloy.

Speaking at the launch of the first advert last year, Gerry said:

There were three reasons I decided I wanted to do this – firstly it was for myself; a positive thing for me to invest my energy in while dealing with my cancer.Secondly, I thought it would be good for my family, creating something powerful and meaningful for my kids to look back on.

And finally, if even one person stops smoking because of what we’ve done, then it will all be worth it for me.

Read: Father with terminal lung cancer joins with HSE in fight against tobacco>

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