Press release

One person quits smoking every 80 seconds in England

PHE encourages people to join in the mass quit attempt, Stoptober, and get the right stop smoking support for them.

Launch of Stoptober campaign in 2018

Last year, nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully, which is the equivalent to 1,069 smokers each day. Despite new smokers starting and ex-smokers relapsing, there are now 1 million fewer smokers in England since 2014.

Of the 6.1 million smokers in England, 6 in 10 want to quit but most try to quit using willpower alone (or ‘cold turkey’) despite this being the least effective method. The most successful quit attempts use a combination of effective stop smoking support methods.

The best way to quit is with expert help from local stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids. In 2017 to 2018, half (51%) of smokers who got this package of support managed to quit and among those who used an e-cigarette in their quit attempt, the success rate was up to 63%.

New to this year, Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign is offering a free online ‘Personal Quit Plan’ to help smokers find the right stop smoking support for them. The online plan asks a number of questions and provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously.

Smokers will be advised that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are most effective when used in combination – an all-day patch together with a fast-acting option such as an inhaler or lozenges to help them deal with any immediate cravings.

Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at Public Health England, said:

There are many different types of stop smoking support available, so it can be difficult for a smoker to know what will work best for them. The important thing is not to be put off trying to quit even if you have not managed to in the past.

This year, Stoptober can help you find a combination that could work for you. We predict that thousands of smokers will quit every day over the next 10 years – I urge smokers not to get left behind for the benefit of their health. Join in, find your best way to quit and start your 28-day journey to becoming smokefree.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister said:

Millions of people are living healthier lives as a result of our efforts to reduce smoking rates. Britain is a global leader on tobacco control and our robust policies mean smoking rates have fallen to record lows. But we are not complacent – we know we must do all we can to keep encouraging smokers to quit for good.

Quitting altogether is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health — Stoptober is a brilliant chance to go smoke-free for 28 days and see the benefits for yourself.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and TV doctor said:

I see many people in my surgery who want to quit smoking but far too many try without support, and they end up going back to smoking after a short period. Stop smoking aids and face-to-face support from local stop smoking services are proven methods of support that help many thousands of people to quit each year.

The Personal Quit Plan is a quick and useful free tool for smokers looking to quit. People just answer a few questions about their smoking and they are then recommended a combination of support to increase their chances of quitting this Stoptober.

Jeremy Kyle, TV presenter and until recently a smoker of 35 years, said:

I was a 20 a day smoker for most of my life and am proud to say I quit smoking earlier this year. I’ve tried many times in the past to quit but nothing really worked for me. This year, however, the time was right and I wanted to do it for me. With the death of my mother, having cancer myself and becoming a grandad this year, I was determined and I’m so happy I’m now smokefree. I’m not going to pretend it is easy, but I knew my time smoking was up.

The thing that is really helping me stay smokefree is vaping. I’m currently on the lowest nicotine strength and will then come off the e-cigarette altogether when the time is right for me. Since quitting I’ve learned just how important using support is and for people not to go ‘cold turkey’ – that certainly didn’t work for me in the past. If I can quit, I honestly believe anyone can quit if you just have the right support, and that’s what Stoptober is there to give you and I want people to know that and to do it this year.

Stoptober is based on research that if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you are five times more likely to quit for good. The new Personal Quit Plan will recommend a range of options to smokers including face-to-face support, nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gum or inhalers, and e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes remain the nation’s favourite stop smoking aid, with an estimated 3.2 million adult users in Great Britain. Over time, the proportion who are ex-smokers has risen and over half (52%) of current vapers have stopped smoking completely. A further 900,000 people have given up both smoking and vaping.

Search ‘Stoptober’ to use the Personal Quit Plan and to find out about the range of free and proven support available to help you start your quitting journey on 1 October.

Background

  1. In 2017 there were 6.1 million smokers and 6.4% of those quit successfully last year (390,400).
  2. Total quits in 2017: 390,400 / 365 = 1,069 per day; 1,069 / 24 = 44 per hour; 60 mins / 44 per hour = 1 every 1.36 mins or 81 secs. Source: Smoking in England: Smoking Toolkit Study – Stopped smoking in the past 12 months, University College London.

Public Health England press office

Published 20 September 2018