Stoptober is over – but more than 215,000 people are on the road to quitting for good

Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

Public Health England says more than 215,000 smokers signed up to this year's 28-day quitting event Stoptober, with many now determined not to go back to smoking.

Research shows that stopping smoking for a period of 28 days makes you five times more likely to quit permanently. Those who signed up to Stoptober this year received free, comedic messages of support and encouragement from top comedians Bill Bailey, Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rhod Gilbert.

Latest figures show smoking rates across England have fallen significantly over the past 30 years, from a third of the population in 1985 to less than a fifth in 2015 – today only 18% of adults are smokers.

PHE says this continued reduction can be attributed to a change in attitudes towards the habit but also through changes to legislation, including tobacco advertising, smokefree workplaces and public spaces, and more recently, to laws regarding smoking in vehicles with children.

However, PHE says there are still around 8 million smokers in England resulting in around 80,000 deaths per year. In addition, treating smoking-related diseases costs the NHS £2 billion each year.

PHE Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies says: “Congratulations to those who have made it 28 days smoke free this Stoptober: your body will already be feeling the benefits and I urge you to remain strong and stop for good.

Stoptober Group

“One in two smokers will die as a result of smoking. Stopping is one of the best things you can do for health so for those who didn’t manage to make it all the way, I encourage you try again, please go see your GP or local stop smoking service for help.”

Martin Dockrell, Head of Tobacco Control Programme, PHE adds: “Our campaigns are designed to help people quit so it is fantastic to see that over 215,000 people took part in this year’s Stoptober campaign and benefitted from more personal support than ever before. We’re making considerable progress towards a smokefree nation but smoking remains the biggest cause of health inequalities, with the harm hitting hardest in our most deprived communities. There’s still more to do and we must continue to help smokers across England to quit for good.”

Health Benefits

The health benefits of quitting smoking can be felt almost immediately, with easier breathing, a reduction in blood pressure and improved circulation. In addition to the well-known benefits of quitting such as a decreased cancer and cardiovascular disease risk, other long-term benefits include improved fertility, a younger-looking complexion, improved dental health, improved energy levels and immunity, lowered stress levels as you are no longer battling with the craving and withdrawal cycle and an improvement in your senses of smell and taste.

For further support on how to quit smoking, visit NHS Smokefree.

Stoptober image courtesy of Public Health England.

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