Stoptober and smoking ban backed throughout South Yorkshire

Published Friday, 25th September 2015
Cigarette in ash tray
Cigarette in ash tray

Smokers across South Yorkshire are being encouraged to quit the habit, as Stoptober launches and new legislation comes into force.

South Yorkshire Tobacco Control Collaborative – a joint initiative by Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Councils – is backing the national quitting challenge, which coincides with the ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children.

Rotherham’s Advisory Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Cllr David Roche, said: “Stoptober is a great opportunity for people to give up smoking and an ideal time for the government to launch the ban on smoking in vehicles with children, as it provides extra motivation and support for parents and carers who want to quit.”

Smokers not only have the backing of South Yorkshire Tobacco Control Collaborative, they are also supported by Yorkshire Smokefree, the region’s specialist quitting support service.

Yorkshire Smokefree provides a range of services, including telephone support, individual and group sessions, clinics in a range of locations, online programmes with interactive resources, personalised plans and tools and even virtual support from specialists. Stoptober quitters can also benefit from a range of free online resources from Public Health England.

Cllr Roche said: “Launching the ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children at the same time as Stoptober is a great way of reinforcing the message that people can take positive action to improve the quality of life for both themselves and for future generations.

“It is vital that parents understand why smoking in cars carrying children can be so dangerous and the new legislation is a move towards helping to protect children and young people from the harmful effects of tobacco.”

The legislation, which will make it illegal for anyone to smoke in a vehicle while carrying passengers under the age of 18, will come into force from October 1.

Drivers face fines of £50 if they fail to follow the new law and those that fail to stop a passenger from smoking in the presence of anyone under 18 risk being fined twice. 

Cllr Roche said: “Second-hand smoke is dangerous for anyone exposed to it but children are especially vulnerable as they breathe faster than adults and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems.”

More than 80 percent of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening car windows does not remove its harmful effect.

Every time children breathe in second-hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals, putting them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia (1).

“Even if people do not have children, Stoptober is still an ideal time to take those first steps towards quitting and we are encouraging people to sign up with their friends, families and colleagues. Stopping smoking with someone you know can make it easier to quit because of the extra support,” said Cllr Roche.

Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when a partner stops smoking and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops (2).

This year’s Stoptober campaign aims to build on the success of Stoptober 2014, which saw 21,000 people in the Yorkshire and Humber region sign up to quit. 

Cllr Roche added: “We know from our own research that a significant number of smokers really want to give up and Stoptober is designed to kick-start that.

“Along with Public Health England’s services, the support we offer locally will give people the tools to help achieve their aim and I urge everyone who smokes to take part in the challenge this year.”

There are lots of ways to give up smoking and there is help to find a way tailored to each individual’s specific needs. For more information people should call the new Yorkshire Smokefree Service for advice and tips on quitting smoking: 0800 612 0011 (free from landlines) or 0330 660 1166 (free from mobiles).

1) According to the Royal College of Physicians (2010). Passive Smoking and Children. RCP, London

2) Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D: The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network, N Engl J Med 2008; 358:2249-2258, May 22, 2008, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa0706154