Stoptober is back to launch its 10th mass quit attempt on 1st October, calling on smokers in Kent to join the 2.3 million others who have made a quit attempt with the campaign since it launched a decade ago.
Over 6 million adults in England still smoke, and it remains the leading cause of premature death, with almost 75,000 preventable deaths a year. In Kent, figures for 2019 showed that 13.7% of residents smoked. Although this was a record low across the county, health experts fear numbers may have increased during the pandemic.
Kent County Council’s Director for Public Health, Allison Duggal said: “We know that the pandemic created lots of stressful and challenging situations and early indications show that people may have started or resumed smoking as a way of coping during the pandemic but we also know the links between smoking and serious health implications if you get Covid-19 as smoking damages the lungs and airways, making it harder to breathe. Each cigarette fills our lungs with toxins which harm the immune system and leave us more vulnerable to infections.”
She adds: “It’s never too late to quit – stopping smoking brings immediate benefits to health, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease. Stoptober offers a range of free quitting support including the NHS Quit Smoking app while expert support from local One You Kent stop smoking services gives people the best chance of success, and GPs and pharmacists can also give advice and tips to help smokers quit, including what prescription medicines might be right for them. Find out more now at www.kent.gov.uk/stoptober”
A new nationwide survey of 2,000 current smokers found that nearly half (45%) have been smoking more since the first lockdown began. Key reasons reported are being bored in the lockdowns (43%) or the pandemic making them more anxious (42%). What’s more, data from the monthly UCL Smoking Toolkit Study indicates a large increase in smoking among the under-35s since the coronavirus pandemic, up from 18% in 2019 to 24% now.
As a result of increased smoking behaviours, this year’s Stoptober mass quit attempt is more important than ever and is encouraging smokers to join the thousands of others who are giving quitting a go for the month of October, and getting to experience the benefits of giving up smoking including being able to start moving better, being able to breathe more easily and saving money.
Stoptober offers a range of free quitting tools including: the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook messenger bot, Stoptober Facebook online communities, daily emails and SMS, and an online Personal Quit Plan.
Susan Piddock, One You Kent’s Professional Lead for Stop Smoking said: “We know it’s tough to quit smoking, but you don’t have to go it alone and you are more likely to succeed with our support. If you can quit for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good so why not give it a go?
“Our NHS trained smokefree advisers offer free, friendly support when you need it most, including free nicotine replacement therapy. We’ve supported over 3000 smokers to quit over the past year. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and Stoptober is an ideal opportunity to quit.”
Information on Stoptober, along with online help, apps and ways to contact local One You Kent support services can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/stoptober
You can also call 0300 123 1220 or text ‘quit’ to 87023