A Decrease font size. A Reset font size. A Increase font size.

Smoking & Alcohol - Heartbeat Trust


Smoking is a major cause of death in Ireland. 1 in every 2 smoker’s die of a tobacco related illness. Smoking is especially bad for your heart health. If you are a smoker, the best first step towards better heart health is to find a way to stop.

The good news is that it is never too late to stop, with improvements to your general health starting just 20 minutes later when your blood pressure and pulse begin to return to normal. Within hours your oxygen levels will increase. Within days you reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. After 5 years your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a non-smoker and after 10 years your risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.

There are many options and supports available once you make the choice to quit:

1. Your local HSE promotion team hold sessions organised by a smoking cessation expert.

2. Call the national Smokers Quit line 1850 201 203 or log onto www.quit.ie

3. Your GP can help and support you and also prescribe medication to help you through.

4. Your pharmacist can also assist in offering you advice on nicotine replacement therapies, which come in many forms.

5. Alternative therapies

6. Will power: You can go it alone

Find reasons to quit smoking:

1. Concern for your own health

2. For the good health of your family / relationships

3. For your appearance

4. Know someone with a health related illness

5. That you’ve simply had enough of smoking

Tips to help you stop smoking:

1. Keep a motivator close at hand, for example, a family photograph
2. Make an appointment with your doctor to get as much advice and help as possible
3. Avoid triggers mechanisms: Change you drinking routine of tea, coffee, alcohol
4. Stay away from high risk smoking situations as much as possible
5. Use distraction devices: Drink water, walk, laughter
6. Start a quitting diary: Put your thoughts and feelings into words
7. Don’t let a ‘slip up’ become a ‘mud slide’: Get back on track as soon as possible
8. Evaluate previous failed quit attempts and then avoid them

Failure is only when you stop trying

STOP Smoking, SAVE Money!
It also helps to consider how much more money will be in your pocket.
A smoker of 20 a day at €9 a packet would save €63 a week, €252 in an average month and €3,276 within a year.

There are many smartphone app’s available on the google play store and on the iTunes app.


In Ireland a standard drink has about 10 grams of pure alcohol in it and this is sometimes called a “unit” or a “standard drink”.

What is a “unit” or “standard drink in a pub?

  1. A pub measure of spirits (35.5ml)
  2. A small glass of wine (12.5% volume)
  3. A half pint of normal beer
  4. An “alcopop” (275ml bottle)

Always remember what you pour at home may not be the same measure as in a pub. For example, a bottle of wine at 12.5% alcohol contains about seven standard drinks

Drinking more than the recommended number of units or standard drinks may cause harm to your body and makes it more difficult to manage your weight.

Remember: Low Risk Drinking Guideline

Women = 11units per week max

Men = 17 units per week max

How much is in a bottle or a pint? Explaining the ‘one standard unit’

1 pint of beer = 2 units

1 bottle of wine = 7 units approximately

Patient Testimonials

Some words from our patients:

“It is indeed so very reassuring to know that we have excellent doctors such as Prof McDonald and his team working on our behalf.’

“As a spouse of a stroke survivor, tonight talks made me more aware of the actions I need to take for my own health as well as that of my husbands.”

“I find the process reassuring and the people involved in STOPHF very kind and helpful”

“I feel secure in the knowledge that I am being monitored. Beneficial in having ongoing advice etc.”

“Because of the thoroughness of the annual checks I was kept aware of my medical condition”

“While on the research programme it was discovered I had too much hormone. Then I was sent to the Endocrinology team in SVUH for many tests. I was diagnosed to have a growth in my pituitary and acromegaly. I had surgery in Beaumont Hospital to remove the growth. I am so grateful to the Heartbeat Trust for finding this and sending me to have it researched and treated.

“Lovely people. Great work over many years which will clearly help our nation. Thank you for your information”