Public Health England is urging local residents and smokers to sign up to Stoptober, after new data was revealed showing that 17.3% of South West residents are smokers.
Stoptober is the country’s 28 day mass quit attempt from Public Health England.
To stand an even better chance of quitting, residents are encouraged to sign up with their friends, family and colleagues, as evidence reveals that this type of ‘social quitting’ can dramatically improve people’s chances of successfully stopping.
Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops.
The data also shows that individuals are much more likely (61%) to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes – showing the powerful influence that people’s social networks have on their own smoking behaviour.
This is backed up by a study of smokers in Australia, Canada, the UK and the United States which shows that the fewer smoking friends someone has, the more likely they are to succeed in a quit attempt.
This year, Stoptober will be providing quitters with a personal touch from some of the nation’s leading comedians – Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi.
Messages of support and encouragement will be sent straight to quitters’ phones and emails throughout October.
Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year with more than half making it to 28 days; this year, it is expected the campaign will welcome the millionth sign up.
By stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.
Professor Debra Lapthorne, Centre Director for Public Health England South West said: “Stoptober will be providing people with more engaging and personalised support than ever.
“Along with receiving proven advice and support, participants this year will get encouragement every day from some of the best comedians in the country to help them reach 28 days smokefree.
“The benefits of stopping smoking are almost immediate: quitters will soon see reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation.
“It is one of the best things a person can do to improve their health and reduce their chances of developing long-term conditions and dying prematurely. Sign up today and get ready to start your quitting journey with our support on 1st October.”
Rhod Gilbert who is supporting this year’s campaign said: “I smoked for about 25 years and probably spent 23 of those trying to quit, trying everything you can think of to kick the habit.
“I know first-hand that it can be hard to find the motivation to quit, but Stoptober is the perfect time to give it a go.
“Not only will you be joining thousands of others taking part, you’ll also have exclusive support from myself, Bill Bailey, Shappi Khorsandi and the Pub Landlord, as well as access to lots of other help along the way.
“My advice to those taking on Stoptober would be to take the 28 days one day at a time.”
Cherry Jones, Chair of the Smokefree South West Group said: “Stoptober is a fantastic opportunity to join with your friends, family and work colleagues to start enjoying the benefits of being smokefree.
“We encourage all smokers to take up the challenge and take advantage of the huge range of free local support available to stop smoking.”
To sign up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober.