Smokers urged to take the 28 day Stoptober challenge

Published Thursday, 22nd September 2016
Yorkshire Smokefree and RMBC launch Stoptober 2016
From left: Jacqui Reddick, Support Manager at Yorkshire Smokefree; Sue Smith, Public Health Specialist at Rotherham Council; Simon Lister, Service Manager at Yorkshire Smokefree; Wendy Haith, Pharmacist at Maltby Health Centre

Smokers across South Yorkshire are being encouraged to try and quit for 28 days, as this year's Stoptober campaign launches.

Now in its fifth year, the national quitting challenge has inspired almost one million quit attempts to date. It is part of Public Health England's wider 'One You' campaign, which aims to help adults lead healthier lifestyles, and is backed by the recently relaunched Rotherham Tobacco Alliance – a partnership between Rotherham Council, NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, Yorkshire Smokefree, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and Voluntary Action Rotherham.

This year's Stoptober campaign aims to build on the success of Stoptober 2015, which saw 892 people in Rotherham sign up to try and quit. In the last year, around 2.5 million smokers in England tried to quit, with a fifth (500,000 people) managing to successfully kick the habit. In 2015/16 Rotherham saw 1,303 people quit which represents 618 quitters per 100,000 people. This is a higher quit rate than the regional and national average which is calculated by comparing quitters per 100,000 of the population.

Cllr David Roche, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health and Chair of the Rotherham Tobacco Alliance, said: "Stoptober is the perfect time to take those first steps towards quitting for good. It is based on sound research that, if you can quit smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good.

"About two-thirds of smokers really want to give up and Stoptober is designed to kick-start that. The latest figures show that the numbers of smokers locally and nationally continue to fall as more people try to quit – and succeed."

Figures released this week have shown that adult smoking rates in England continue to fall every year and are now at their lowest recorded levels, with just 16.9 percent of adults – about one in six – describing themselves as a smoker. There are now twice as many ex-smokers (14.6 million) as smokers (7.2 million) in England, and sales of cigarettes have dropped by 20 percent in the last two years.

The big reductions in the number of smokers reflect the change in social attitudes to smoking and the benefits of effective and accessible support services. Quitting smoking is not easy and can take several attempts, but working with support services such as Yorkshire Smokefree is shown to increase your chances of quitting for good.

Quitters in Rotherham can get support and advice from Yorkshire Smokefree - the region's specialist quitting support service, funded by Rotherham Council.

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. Quitters can also benefit from a range of free online resources from Public Health England, and the quitting.

Having the support of family, friends and colleagues can also make it easier to quit. Research also shows that smokers are two thirds (67 percent) more likely to quit when a partner stops smoking and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36 percent) or someone they work with (34 percent) stops.

Simon Lister, Service Manager at Yorkshire Smokefree, said: "Quitting smoking is the single best thing that any smoker can do to improve their health. It also improves the health of people around you - particularly children who can be influenced into smoking if close family members smoke, not to mention the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke on the people around you.

"We're here to offer a range of support and advice to help smokers quit at any time, but Stoptober is a great time for smokers to make that change. 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."

The month-long campaign is also backed by local pharmacies, which have teamed up with Yorkshire Smokefree to use branded prescription bags to promote Stoptober and the Yorkshire Smokefree service to all customers.

Wendy Haith, Pharmacist at Maltby Health Centre, has personal experience of the benefits of quitting smoking and said: "I can really relate to people who come to see me, because my husband was a smoker and quit over ten years ago. I can see the benefits from the family side as well."

There are lots of ways to give up smoking and there is help to find a way tailored to each individual's specific needs.

Get help to stop smoking