Next month brings the annual “Stoptober” campaign, with Public Health England encouraging smokers to join the mass quit attempt and get the support they need to ditch the cigs for good.
Last year nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully – that’s 1,069 smokers each day. Despite new smokers starting and some ex-smokers relapsing, there are now one million fewer smokers in England since 2014.
Of the remaining 6.1 million smokers, three-fifths say they want to quit. But most still try using willpower alone, 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, just over half (51%) of smokers who got this support package managed to quit and among those who used an e-cigarette (vaping) in their quit attempt, the success rate was up to 63%.
New 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 previously used.
Smokers will be advised that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are most effective when used in combination – for example, an all-day patch together with a fast-acting option such as an inhaler or lozenges to help deal with any immediate cravings.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, who regularly appears on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, added: “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 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.”
TV presenter Jeremy Kyle was a heavy smoker for 35 years, but has now managed to quit. Encouraging others to do the same, he said: “I was a 20-a-day smoker for most of my life and am proud to say I quit earlier this year. I’ve tried many times in the past, but nothing really worked for me. This year, however, the time was right and I wanted to do it for me.
“I’m not going to pretend it’s easy, but I knew my time smoking was up. The thing that’s really helping me stay smokefree is vaping. I’m currently on the lowest nicotine strength and will come off the e-cigarette altogether when the time is right. 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 if you just have the right support. That’s what Stoptober is there to give you and I want people to know that and to do it this year.”
The concept of “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.
‘Vaping’ using e-cigarettes is now 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.
● You can find out more about Stoptober and get your Personal Quit Plan by clicking here.