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Quitting smoking? New campaign uses social media to encourage people to quit

A map tracks the number of tweets sent across Ireland every week about quitting smoking – and asks people to support anyone trying to give up.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A NEW CAMPAIGN is using social media to help people who are trying to give up smoking.

Pfizer Healthcare and the Irish Heart Foundation have set up a website which shows a map of Ireland (and the rest of Europe) which tracks the number of tweets about quitting smoking every week.

The campaign aims to get people talking about their experiences of trying to quit in a bid to build up a network of support from other people on Twitter.

Currently there are only around 100 tweets sent every week in Ireland about quitting smoking, compared with more than 2000 per week in the UK – although it does have a population fourteen times larger than Ireland.

The campaign also focuses on the amount of money smokers spend on cigarettes, pointing out that someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day will spend around €3,285 on cigarettes in one year.

“Research shows that smokes consider quitting smoking because of those close to them and so it’s important they have the help they need to quit,” said Paul Horan of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland. “We’re therefore calling on family, friends and work colleagues to share their support with those trying to break their smoking addiction by tweeting #qweetwithhelp”.

Research suggests that around three-quarters of all smokers want to quit. An Ipsos MORI survey from earlier this year found that 88 per cent of Irish smokers have tried to quit at least once, while the majority had made around five unsuccessful attempts already to give up.

Chris Macey of the Irish Heart Foundation says that going it alone is not the best option for most smokers.

“[This is] about creating a network of support for smokers, because quitting is a real challenge for most,” said Macey. “This is why we are also now asking smokers’ loved ones to share their support”.

Map showing areas across Ireland where people are tweeting about giving up smoking. (Image: Quitwithhelp.ie)

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