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Smokers urged to join the Stoptober challenge

Stoptober – what is it & why should you try it?
WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
extinguished cigarette

1st October 2013 - Thousands of people across the country begin Stoptober today. For the second year running smokers are being encouraged to quit for 28 days this month.

Find out more about the Stoptober challenge with our FAQs.

What is Stoptober?

Stoptober is a campaign by Public Health England (PHE) which is dedicated to encouraging people to quit smoking.

Over 8 million people in England smoke and it remains the nation’s biggest killer, with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking-related disease. Smoking is one of the main causes of lung cancer and the latest data shows that the incidence of lung cancer continues to increase amongst women, whilst dropping for men.

Research shows that those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smokefree and Stoptober’s ambition is to help smokers achieve that goal.

Was last year's challenge successful?

The organisers say last year's challenge was a huge success. In 2012 more than 275,000 registered for Stoptober and 160,000 of them completed the 28 day challenge.

It's because of this they've launched the second Stoptober. They say they want every smoker to consider making a quit attempt this October so they can join the thousands of people who are feeling the benefits from stopping smoking last year.

Why would this work when other quit smoking strategies have failed?

Stoptober is all about supporting and encouraging each other to quit and it maintains momentum. You get a surge of people quitting on New Year’s Day and in March on No Smoking day but then there's a void. Stoptober plugs that gap and because it's a mass participation event those taking place know they're not alone.

What support do you get?

Stoptober provides smokers with a range of free support including a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app and text support with daily updates and quitting advice, detailed tools and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media.

This is all in addition to the support provided by local stop smoking services.

What are the benefits to stopping smoking?

According to this year's Stoptober campaign new research based on smokers in the US shows someone who quits smoking for 28 days, and doesn’t smoke again, could gain an extra week of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life.

Those who quit will also experience physical improvements including a better sense of smell, taste and more energy.

Longer term, those who stop smoking reduce their risk of heart disease and lung cancer as well as protecting those around them from secondhand smoke.

Along with the health benefits, stopping will save the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year, based on £7.77 for a packet of cigarettes and an average daily consumption of 13 manufactured cigarettes per smoker. During last year’s Stoptober campaign, the organisers say £25 million was saved by the 160,000 people not buying cigarettes.

What are you waiting for?

Stoptober 2013 starts today but it isn't too late to join in and receive the free help that's on offer. It could be the first step to a longer and healthier life. You can get more information by searching ‘Stoptober’ online.

This article was updated after original publication to reflect the latest information.

Reviewed on September 09, 2013

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