Stoptober: have you signed up yet?

Thinking of giving up smoking? Then why not join in the mass quitting challenge Stoptober, which aims to encourage the UK’s remaining smokers to quit together this October.

Cricketer and Question of Sport captain Phil Tufnell is supporting the campaign this year. “I have smoked pretty steadily since I was a teenager, even through my cricket career,” he says. “I have tried giving up before and know how tough it is, but I am going to try and quit again this October.

“Even if you have tried quitting before like me and failed, just give it another go and keep trying. The more you try to quit, the more likely you are to get there. Stoptober is here to help, so let’s try and get through 28 days without a fag by taking it one day at a time.”

According to Public Health England (PHE) – which organises Stoptober – the event has driven almost a million quit attempts to date (this year marks the fifth Stoptober). Last year had the highest recorded success rate so far: out of 2.5 million smokers making a quit attempt, 500,000 were successful.

This success rate reflects the high number of people using quitting aids, with 700,000 using a licensed nicotine replacement product such as patches or gum in 2015. More than 350,000 people also used their local stop smoking service in 2015, claims PHE.

Seven million smokers remaining

“While it is amazing that there are over twice as many ex-smokers as current smokers in England, there are still over seven million people regularly lighting up,” says Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing for PHE.

“Alongside unhealthy diet, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for over 78,000 deaths a year. Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health.”

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation agrees, saying quitting smoking is the best single thing you can do for your heart health. “Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer and by giving up smoking you’ll be dramatically reducing your chances of having a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke.”

Meanwhile, Dr Gina Radford, the UK government’s deputy chief medical officer, says Stoptober is the perfect time for trying to quit, as there’s more help and support available now than ever before.

“We have a range of free support that can go direct to your phone, laptop or tablet via the Stoptober app, a daily email service or Facebook Messenger bot,” she says. “The new Stoptober website also has advice and information on stop smoking services and quitting aids.”

For more information and to download the app or sign up for daily email support, visit the Stoptober website at www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also help if you need support with quitting smoking. Just pop in and ask today. Find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.