Stoptober, an annual campaign aimed at encouraging smokers in England to quit, is set to kick off on October 1st. While smoking rates have been declining, over 5 million adults in England still smoke, and smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the country, with a staggering 64,000 annual deaths attributed to smoking-related diseases. The economic toll of smoking on society in England is estimated at approximately £17 billion per year, including the NHS costs of treating smoking-related diseases, which amount to roughly £1.9 billion annually. To combat this public health crisis, the government has introduced new measures, including financial incentives for pregnant women who smoke, in a bid to achieve its ambitious goal of making England smoke-free by 2030.
Immediate Benefits of Quitting
The survey, which gathered responses from more than 3,000 ex-smokers, has highlighted the rapid and significant positive changes that come with quitting smoking. Within just two weeks of kicking the habit, ex-smokers reported a range of benefits, including increased energy (45%), improved overall health (42%), and enhanced lung function (42%). Beyond these health improvements, respondents also noted a boost in their ability to engage in physical activity (22%), healthier-looking skin (24%), the return of their sense of taste (25%), and significant financial savings (34%). On average, quitting smoking can save a smoker £38 per week, which amounts to approximately £2,000 annually.
Long-Term Health Gains
Quitting smoking not only brings immediate benefits but also leads to long-term improvements in health. After just one year of being smoke-free, the risk of a heart attack is reduced by half, and after a decade, the risk of death from lung cancer drops to half that of a smoker.
Encouraging Messages from Health Officials
Prominent health figures, including NHS doctor Dr. Dawn Harper, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Dr. Jeanelle de Gruchy, and Health Minister Neil O’Brien, have emphasized the immense health advantages of quitting smoking. They stress that quitting smoking is one of the most significant steps a smoker can take to improve their health, from easier breathing and reduced coughing to better-tasting food. Long-term health benefits include a reduced risk of cancer and lung diseases, with the risk of heart attack halved after just one year of quitting.
Stoptober’s Call to Action
Stoptober is based on the premise that if individuals can remain smoke-free for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit smoking for good. This year’s campaign, titled ‘When you stop smoking, good things start to happen,’ is designed to underscore the immediate advantages of quitting smoking.
Support for Quitting
While quitting smoking can be challenging, the survey revealed essential insights into where individuals find support. Family and friends (29%) and conversations with others who have successfully quit smoking (21%) were identified as key motivators. Additionally, participants shared tips for success, including finding distractions from smoking, such as keeping hands busy (37%), altering daily routines (37%), and engaging in physical activity like walking (37%).
Personal Stories of Success
To further inspire smokers to embark on their quit journey, public figures like The Only Way Is Essex star Bobby Norris and Love Island’s Malin Andersson are sharing their personal success stories. Both individuals successfully quit smoking and are eager to motivate others to do the same. Norris spoke of experiencing an energy boost and improved fitness after quitting, while Andersson highlighted the benefits of easier breathing and enhanced overall health.
Stoptober’s Free Support Services
Stoptober offers a range of free resources and support services to aid individuals on their quit journey, including the NHS Quit Smoking App, a Facebook support group, an online Personal Quit Plan, and a tool to locate local stop-smoking services. The campaign also provides information on stop-smoking aids, including how vaping can assist in quitting smoking.
For individuals seeking free support to quit smoking this October, the search term ‘Stoptober’ provides access to these valuable resources and services.