Research shows Offaly smokers spend over €1,500 per year on cigarettes

New research reveals that over a fifth of Offaly people who filled out an online health check are smokers, with a higher proportion of females (26%) than males (19%) smoking. The research by Aviva Health Insurance also revealed that Offaly smokers consume an average of 11 cigarettes every day, costing the smoker approximately €132 each month and €1,584 per year, despite the continuing bite of the recession.

New research reveals that over a fifth of Offaly people who filled out an online health check are smokers, with a higher proportion of females (26%) than males (19%) smoking. The research by Aviva Health Insurance also revealed that Offaly smokers consume an average of 11 cigarettes every day, costing the smoker approximately €132 each month and €1,584 per year, despite the continuing bite of the recession.

Overall, County Longford has the highest number of smokers in the country, with 30% of respondents reporting to smoke, while County Monaghan reported the lowest number of smokers for the second year in a row with only 16%.

Women in Ireland are smoking double the amount of cigarettes compared to men, an average of 12 more than men – highlighting that the trend of women smoking more than men remains the same. These findings are even more shocking as the figures show that instances of cancer are also rising in Ireland, with the risk of developing lung cancer set to increase by 59% for men and 136% for woman by 2020 according to the National Cancer Registry.

Some of the most shocking statistics show that smokers lose an average of 10 to 15 years from their life expectancy and that even if you are in the same room as a smoker you are exposing yourself to at least fifty agents known to cause cancer.

Aviva recently launched the Get Fit Action Plan with celebrity Baz Ashmawy, who kicked his smoking habit as part of the plan. Previously a heavy smoker of up to 25 per day, he is reaping the benefits of quitting. “It’s a massive achievement for me to be off cigarettes – I’ve smoked since I was 13, but I always thought that I would have quit by the time I was 25 - I’m 35 now so it’s about time! The Aviva Get Fit Action Plan is a great excuse to do it; it has always been my main concern in terms of health. I would recommend that others who are thinking of quitting just keep trying, you can get there. I’m the last person that my friends would have thought would ever give up smoking, and I did it!”

Speaking following the results of the online health check, Dr Stephen Murphy of the Aviva Medical Council said: “If you are a smoker, you should understand the impact that your habit is having on your health. Smoking affects your cardio-vascular system, making your blood clot more easily. This can block an artery in your heart leading to a heart attack or an artery in your brain which can cause a stroke. Smokers are three times more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers.”

“I would urge everyone to complete the online health check available at www.avivahealth.ie and to participate in the challenge to bring about behavioural change that can prolong and improve the quality of their lives.,” continued Dr. Stephen Murphy.

In an effort to help stop smoking in Ireland, Aviva Health Insurance is the first and only insurer to offer its members access to the Allen Carr Easyway to Stop Smoking programme – one of the most successful methods of smoking cessation with a 90% global success rate.

Health customers with Aviva can get up to 33% back on the cost of the session when they successfully stop smoking with Allen Carr’s Easyway, to find out more about Easyway visit www.easyway.ie or lo-call number 1890 379929. You can also check out Baz Ashmawy’s video on how he stopped smoking on YouTube.

Aviva Health Insurance is looking out for Ireland’s consumers and offers the following top tips to help consumers quit smoking:

* Drink lots of water to help cleanse your body and limit coffee, sugary drinks and alcohol as they can increase your urge to smoke

* Try to go to bed earlier and get more rest

* Distract yourself – if you feel a craving coming talk to someone, start a new task or take some deep breaths to focus your mind on something else

* Change your habit – try going to work on a different route, eating breakfast in a different place or getting up from the table straight after eating

* Exercise regularly and moderately, even just a 20 minute walk every day can give you a much needed energy boost

* Avoid sugar and fatty foods – there is no good giving up smoking if you are going to let other parts of your health deteriorate

* And finally, whenever you feel yourself slipping remember why you are quitting and rely on your friends, family or even a support group for help – it’s what they are there for.

For further tips on how to quit smoking and details of the Allen Carr Easyway to Stop Smoking programme please visit www.avivahealth.ie