Running throughout October, this year’s annual ‘Stoptober’ campaign is calling on all smokers to put their lungs first and breathe easier ahead of flu season.
Smoking damages the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to infections such as flu and coronavirus. Smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and experiencing more severe symptoms if they do. Stopping smoking brings immediate benefits to health, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease.
This Stoptober, smokers in England are being encouraged to put their lungs first and strengthen their immune system by joining more than two million smokers who have made a quit attempt since 2012 with the annual campaign. Latest data shows a 22% increase in the number of people attempting to quit in 2020, compared to last year, possibly due to coronavirus.
The quitting success rate has also risen, to 23%, with the number of smokers in England now at a record low of 13.9% of the adult population. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has calculated that more than a million people in the UK stopped smoking during the coronavirus lockdown.
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “It has never been more important to take care of ourselves, and quitting smoking is a great way to start. With smoking rates already at an all-time low and 2020 seeing more people stopping than ever, I urge all smokers to join in Stoptober to improve their health and help England become a smoke-free society by 2030.”
Scott Crosby, Tobacco Control Programme Manager at Public Health England, added: “2020 has been an unprecedented year for all of us and has reminded us how important our health is. We’re pleased to see that quitting rates have been extremely high so far this year and Stoptober is back to help support England’s remaining smokers to join in the national quit attempt.
“It’s never too late to quit. Even if you have an existing smoking-related condition, stopping smoking brings immediate health benefits. We know that smoking damages the lungs and weakens the immune system and so now, ahead of flu season, is an ideal time to put your lung health first.”
The annual ‘Stoptober’ campaign provides the information and support people need to quit smoking for 28 days, based on research that if a smoker can make it to 28 days smokefree, they are five times more likely to quit for good.
This year, Stoptober is offering a range of free support tools for those looking to quit, including digital services that are easily accessible for those looking for online support. These tools include the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot and online communities, SMS and daily emails.
There is also a Personal Quit Plan that helps people find a combination of stop smoking support that’s right for them, with options including expert support from local Stop Smoking Services, stop smoking aids and digital tools.
You can find out more about Stoptober and the range of help, advice and support available by clicking here.