Acting Health Minister Kevin Minson has urged smokers to carry on the message contained in today's Quit Day activities and make a pledge to give up smoking.
"There are so many people out there who would really like to give smoking away - it costs them a small fortune and it makes their cars, houses, clothes, hair and breath smell of cigarettes," Mr Minson said.
"And that is before we begin considering the enormous cost of smoking-related illness and the tragedy of those who are either disabled or killed by this addiction.
"During the launch of Quit Week, we reminded people that smoking-related deaths and illnesses are not simply a matter of statistics. We are talking about people - someone's mother, father, daughter, son, uncle, aunt or cousin."
Mr Minson said Quit Week was not about witch-hunting smokers.
"It is about sending a clear message to those who wish to give up that help is available if they need it," he said.
"Many people do need help and support to give up smoking. It is a strong and invasive addiction."
The Minister also sent a message to school children.
"Do not give in to peer pressure to smoke. It is not tough or `cool' to smoke. It is stupid. Those who know they do not need to smoke to `belong' are the `cool' ones."
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211 or 222 9595