Published: 10:40, 20 September 2019
| Updated: 10:53, 20 September 2019
Are you looking to finally quit smoking? Well thankfully, Stoptober is back to help you!
With figures at their lowest levels, smokers in Kent are being reminded of ways to help them quit with this year’s national ‘Stoptober’ campaign encouraging them to ‘end a bad relationship and split up’ with cigarettes.
Kent figures from last year showed a drop of 15 per cent in the number of residents that are smokers – approximately 185,000 people – while the number of people who have never smoked climbed to 56.2 per cent.
Despite smoking rates being lower than ever before across the UK, thousands still continue to smoke which is why Kent County Council (KCC) has got behind the return of Stoptober.
“What started as an on and off occurrence at school, turned into 15 a day,” said 43-year-old Pascal Benn from Gravesend, who finally managed to give up cigarettes during last year’s campaign.
“I tried to quit in the past using various aids but I was not successful. I decided to do Stoptober, challenging myself to quit smoking for the entire month of October.
“I was successful and have been smoke-free since!
“Now I feel disgusted at the sight of a cigarette and have come to realise that the cigarette was in control of me, not the other way around.”
KCC is promoting the Public Health England ‘Stoptober’ campaign by reminding residents of the support services available for those who want to quit.
“This national campaign is always an excellent incentive as research shows that if you stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to quit for good,” explained KCC Director for Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark.
“You’ll find plenty of support through local drop-in services, quit kits and other resources.
“We really would echo the national campaign by encouraging people to end this bad relationship for a considerably healthier future.”
Commissioned by KCC, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) offers year-round support to quit smoking.
Local services such as pharmacies, NHS quit clubs and digital tools (such as mobile apps) are available to support people who want to quit independently.
“We know it can be tough to quit smoking but we are here to help,” added Anne Ford, KCHFT Clinical Service Manager of Public Health.
“We offer lots of different types of support, from groups to one-to-one clinics, to support from your local pharmacy.
“We’ve helped thousands of people in Kent to quit smoking and be smoke-free for life.”
Stoptober has supported over 1.9 million people on their quit journey to date and the campaign’s free quitting support includes the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails, a Personal Quit Plan and Stoptober online communities.
“The annual campaign provides the perfect opportunity for family, friends and colleagues to work together towards quitting smoking for good,” continued Jason Mahoney, who is health & wellbeing programme lead at Public Health England South East.
“I would encourage anyone thinking of quitting to visit the Stoptober website, make a plan and commit to quit with Stoptober.
“Evidence shows you are more likely to quit with support from a local stop smoking service than if you try to go it alone.”
Those looking to give up cigarettes for good can search ‘Stoptober’ online to find a range of free quitting support.
They can also try the ‘How are You?’ quiz or book up for a free NHS Health Check and find out more about a range of tools, tips and local support services that can help by clicking here.
Alternatively, people can ring 0300 123 1220 (option 1), or text ‘QUIT’ to 87023.
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More by this authorJohn Leonidou