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QUIT ads air as hero Gerry laid to rest

"I'll MISS my kids. I will miss not being there when they might need me."

These are the poignant words of Gerry Collins in one of two final anti-smoking ads he recorded before he died.

They aired on TV for the first time today, Ash Wednesday, the same day as his funeral in Greystones.

Gerry passed away at the weekend at the age of 57 from lung cancer.

In one ad, both of which were filmed as part of the HSE's antismoking QUIT campaign, Gerry can be seen enjoying himself in the company of his children.

"Lisa was rebellious. She's a great laugh and I love being in her company. She's 100pc genuine," he says.

"Stephen, he's a real doer. He's got the blend of the discipline and the drive," he adds.

"Ciara has the brains of the family. She has a heart of gold," Gerry says.

"Gerry died from lung cancer shortly after making this film. He was 57," the ad states.

The HSE pointed out Ash Wednesday is National No Smoking Day and urged the thousands of smokers who will try to quit the habit this week to use the range of free support services that can double their chances of succeeding.


As part of the QUIT campaign, two new TV ads featuring the Gerry and his family aired today.

"Gerry's new ads tell more of his story and his thoughts about smoking and his terminal illness.

"Through the series of QUIT ads, Gerry and his family have generously shared their experience, of Gerry's battle with terminal lung cancer, in the hope of inspiring other people to quit smoking and to help others avoid the pain of illness and bereavement as a result of smoking," the HSE states.

"There has been an overwhelming response from smokers and quitters to Gerry's courage and inspiration in sharing his story.

"Using the numbers of people signing up to online QUIT plans since the first ad aired in January, we estimate that over 60,000 people in Ireland have made quit attempts this year, thanks to Gerry," it says.

The ads were aired in accordance with Gerry's wishes.

Dr Stephanie O'Keeffe, national director, health and wellbeing, said: "Quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do for your health, and if you use one the range of support services available, you can as much as double your chances of your quit attempt succeeding."