Terminal cancer father to star in anti-smoking ad
HEALTH chiefs have enlisted the help of a terminal lung cancer patient for a campaign urging people to quit smoking.
As a QUIT TV advert featuring Gerry Collins, from Greystones, Co Wicklow, was launched today, Health Minister James Reilly praised his courage and called him an inspiration.
"I am very grateful to Gerry for having the courage to allow us to share his story for the common good," Dr Reilly said.
"It is not an easy thing and I have no doubt his story will help many smokers out there to make that quit attempt."
Mr Collins was in the initial QUIT adverts in 2011, in which he told of his recovery from throat cancer. But after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he contacted the HSE and offered more support.
He said that he decided to help as it was good for him and good for his family. "If even one person stops smoking because of what we've done, it will all be worth it for me," he added.
The TV advert, which will air for the first time on New Year's Day, sees the father speak of his smoking and the impending loss to his family.
Dr Reilly declared war on smoking earlier this year when he revealed plans to have a smoke-free Ireland by 2025.
Plans are also under way for the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging, which will see large graphic images and health warnings dominate packets of cigarettes.
Some 29pc of the population smokes – well above the 21pc average in OECD countries.
Dr Reilly has been touched personally by the effects of smoking, with his brother dying of lung cancer and his father going blind after a stroke.
The minister said that one in every two smokers died from a tobacco-related disease."We must encourage and assist the many smokers out there who want to be free from tobacco addiction," Dr Reilly added.
"Help is at hand and while most smokers try to quit on their own, they are more likely to succeed if they avail of the many supports available."
"I would urge smokers to talk to their GP or pharmacists, who can advise them on the various medications that will help them in their quit attempt."
Ireland became the first country to stop smoking in bars and restaurants with the workplace smoking ban in 2004.
This was followed by an end to the sale of 10-packs in 2007, a ban on displays and adverts in 2009, and picture health warnings on packets this year.
An extension of the smoking ban could go from the workplace to public areas such as parks and beaches.