Press release

Smokers across the country encouraged to join ‘Stoptober’

National campaign calls for all smokers to quit for 28 days.

Stoptober, the first ever mass quit attempt for smokers has been launched today by Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies.

The innovative campaign comes as smoking remains the biggest killer in England with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from smoking related diseases.

Stoptober which takes place from 1 October and is backed by Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation is the first 28 day quit attempt of its kind to encourage the nation’s eight million smokers to make the step towards a smokefree future.

Smokers will receive support and encouragement through TV and radio advertising which goes live on Monday 10 September, plus a daily messaging service and roadshows around the country.

Backing the scheme the Government’s most senior health advisor, Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said

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.

To join in, look for Stoptober online, or ask your local pharmacist and get your free support pack and lots of other helpful hints and tips.

Research shows those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smokefree. Stoptober will lend a hand to help smokers achieve this goal.

The new campaign is also supported by the Stoptober app (available free via Smartphone) as well as the Smokefree Facebook page with additional tips and advice.

The giant Stoptober wheel will tour the country throughout Stoptober and encourage smokers everywhere to stop smoking and take part.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said:

Smoking accounts for one in four cancer deaths and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases so it’s vital that work continues to support smokers to quit.

Breaking the addiction is difficult so new and innovative campaigns such as this 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.

Maureen Talbot, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said:

The benefits of quitting are enormous. Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your own health as well as those you love and live with. Quitting also makes you look better by improving your skin and teeth and, of course, it helps your finances too.

About two thirds of smokers say they want to quit, so Stoptober provides a great opportunity to join thousands of people in the same situation and ditch the cigarettes for good.

Not only are there financial benefits of quitting, individuals 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.

The campaign is also supported by employers including Next, Unilever and Morrison’s who will be encouraging both staff and members of the public to get on board.

Stoptober 2012 kicks off on Monday 1 October and runs for 28 days. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, visit smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober.

Notes to Editors:

  • For further information contact the Department of Health Press Office on 0207 210 4990
  • Promotion of the campaign goes live from 10 September and includes TV advertising, radio advertising, online, posters, and in-pharmacy literature
  • The TV ad and stills are available for download at http://wtrns.fr/tqpIaip41wFHB7s

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