1st October 2012 - Stoptober is the first ever mass attempt to get the nation's eight million smokers to quit. It takes place from 1st October for 28 days and is backed by Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
The Department of Health isn't releasing figures yet about how many people have signed-up.
What's the idea behind Stoptober and what support will the two thirds of smokers who say they want to quit receive?
Stoptober 2012 kicked-off on Monday 1st October and runs for 28 days - because research shows those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smokefree.
The initiative will compliment already existing cessation schemes. Martin Dockrell of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said in a press statement: "You get a surge of people quitting on New Year’s Day and in March on No Smoking day. But there’s nothing for the rest of the year."
Why is it necessary?
In Britain 21% of adults smoke cigarettes. In Northern Ireland 24% of adults smoke.
It remains the UK’s single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death, with an estimated 102,000 people dying in 2009 from smoking-related diseases including cancers.
Backing the Stoptober campaign the Government’s most senior health advisor, Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said in a press release: "Smoking is still the biggest cause of premature death in England, taking more than 100,000 lives in the UK every year.
"This is the first time that we have launched a mass quit attempt like Stoptober. I would encourage people who want to quit to get involved."
What help will smokers receive?
Smokers who want to quit can sign up to a text service, which provides motivational messages offering daily support and encouragement. They can also register for the 28 day app with helpful hints and tips for a successful quit attempt and join the Smokefree Facebook page to share their experience with others.
Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said in a press statement that new and innovative campaigns such as Stoptober are hugely important. "After the success of the Olympics and Paralympics where we’ve seen such fantastic feats of physical achievement, it would be great to think this might help also motivate smokers to quit and take advantage of Stoptober. It’s key that smokers don’t give up trying to give up."
There's also encouragement from celebrities. Former footballer Ian Wright is a Stoptober mentor and says in a statement: "This is a fantastic campaign, which will really help encourage quitters to work together and give up cigarettes for good. I will be supporting everyone by showing ways to improve health and fitness for people of all levels, and to make sure the cigarettes stay stubbed out."
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