Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, premature death and health inequality throughout Northern Ireland and 2,300 people die prematurely each year from smoking-related illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke and many cancers.
The new campaign takes a two-stranded approach to motivate and encourage smokers to make a quit attempt.
The first strand entitled ‘Make them proud’ aims to raise awareness of the impact parental smoking can have on children’s mental health, particularly in terms of the emotional worry and distress it can cause, and encourages parents who are smokers to make a quit attempt now rather than put it off until later.
Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health at the PHA, explained: “The serious health problems caused by smoking are well known, including a range of cancers, heart disease and early death, which can have a significant health and emotional impact on the families and loved ones of people who smoke.
“Research shows that children who live with parents or siblings who smoke are up to three times more likely to become smokers themselves than children from non-smoking households. By focusing on parental smoking, we hope to have a positive impact on both adult smoking rates and the uptake of smoking by children and young people in the longer term.
“Our work with parents who smoke has shown that the most effective messages are those that show the impact smoking has on their family, in particular their children, which was a strong motivating factor for making a quit attempt. This has been carried through as the key theme of the campaign.”