Press release

Up to 7 days’ life gained for every 28 you remain smokefree

Smokers urged to join the Stoptober challenge

Stoptober campaign

Stoptober – England and Wales’ mass 28-day stop smoking challenge – is back following its huge success last year, which saw 160,000 people successfully complete the challenge.

The campaign is launched by Public Health England (PHE) as new research shows the extra years of life that can be gained by giving up smoking and staying smokefree †. Someone who quits smoking for Stoptober, and doesn’t smoke again, could gain an extra 7 days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life.

Along with the health benefits, stopping will save the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year ‡. During last year’s Stoptober campaign, a staggering £25 million was saved by the 160,000 people from not buying cigarettes.

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. Research shows that those who stop smoking for 28 days are 5 times more likely to stay smokefree and Stoptober’s ambition is to help smokers achieve this goal.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

One in two long-term smokers die as a result of smoking, this is the single biggest cause of premature death taking more than 100,000 lives in the UK and costing the NHS up to £2.7 billion each year.

Life is precious and Stoptober is all about supporting and encouraging each other to quit – potentially adding years to your life.

Taking part in the challenge is a first step to a longer and healthier life so have a go, by stopping with Stoptober.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE said:

Campaigns such as Stoptober, along with the support provided by local stop smoking services, play a huge role in helping people to stop. Whilst smoking prevalence across the country as a whole is falling steadily, it remains high in some parts and is still the biggest cause of premature death with more than 80,000 deaths in England every year.

We want every smoker to consider making a quit attempt this October and join the thousands of people who are feeling the benefits from stopping smoking last year.

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.

Promotion of the campaign begins on Monday 9 September with the launch of new TV advertising and roadshows touring the country. To encourage people to sign up and order their packs, ultra-marathon runner and ex 40-a-day smoker Rory Coleman will be running 28 miles a day for 28 days across England and Wales. As part of Rory’s challenge he will be pushing the giant red Stoptober wheel with the help of local armed forces representatives and members of the public.

Stoptober 2013 starts on Tuesday 1 October and runs for 28 days. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online.

† University of Toronto: 21st Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Cessation in the United States.

‡ Based on £7.77 for a packet of cigarettes (Office of National Statistics, May 2013) and an average daily consumption of 13 manufactured cigarettes per smoker (2011 General Lifestyle Survey)


Notes to editors

  1. Promotion of Stoptober begins on 9 September and includes TV and outdoor advertising, digital activity, posters, cards and in-pharmacy literature, roadshows and national and regional PR.

  2. TV adverts and images will be available via dropbox from 6 September.

  3. Commentary from charitable partners is also available.

  4. Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS,industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health For more information on PHE visit or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

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Published 9 September 2013