As Stoptober launches West Midlands smokers are urged to make a quit attempt

  • The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that adult smoking prevalence rates remain low in the West Midlands at 14.5%
  • Public Health England’s quit smoking campaign, Stoptober, which returns on 1st October to help England’s remaining smokers “split up” with their bad relationship with smoking
  • TV presenter, Nadia Sawalha shares her quit smoking story in support of the campaign and encourages others to “split up” with smoking this Stoptober

Not smoking is now the norm across the West Midlands but despite this adult smoking rates still vary greatly across the region from 18.7% in Stoke-on-Trent to 11.4% in Solihull. Thousands continue to smoke across the West Midlands and Stoptober is back to help encourage these smokers to make a quit attempt and join those who have already quit this year.

PHE is encouraging all smokers to join in with the nation’s biggest quit attempt beginning on October 1st by providing them with the support and information they need to “split up” with smoking this Stoptober.

Nigel Smith, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager, at PHE West Midlands, said: “Over the last decade rates of smoking in the West Midlands have continued to decline, however we are still seeing high rates of smoking in certain areas of the region. This year we want to encourage these smokers to break up their relationship with tobacco and make a quit attempt in October.

“A combination of stop smoking methods are the most effective way to quit. By logging on to the free resources available on the Stoptober website current smokers can find the right support to quit for good.”

The campaign will target all smokers with new creative content highlighting the benefits of “breaking up”, urging them to re-evaluate their bad relationship with smoking and “split up” this October. The creative will feature across digital, radio and out-of-home advertisements throughout the campaign period to help keep smokers motivated during their quit attempt.

Stoptober has supported over 1.9 million people on their quit journey to date – if a smoker can make it to 28 days smokefree, they are five times more likely to quit for good. Stoptober’s free quitting support includes the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails, a Personal Quit Plan and Stoptober online communities.

Research has shown that while many smokers want to quit, they face common barriers including procrastination and a fear of failure. Smokers can get expert face-to-face support from local stop smoking services, and those who do are three times as likely to quit successfully as those who try to quit using willpower alone. Additionally, GPs and pharmacists can also give advice and tips to help smokers quit, including what stop smoking aids might be right for them. Support from family and friends is also an important factor in quitting smoking, and these networks are encouraged to support a smoker as they split up with smoking.

Professor Jamie Brown, Co-Director, UCL Tobacco & Alcohol Research Group at UCL who leads the Smoking Toolkit Study said: “We’re really excited about this data showing such a huge drop in the number of smokers so far in 2019. We’re at an all-time low for the number of smokers, but we want to see more people quitting. There is nothing to be lost by trying to quit so I would advise every smoker to give it a go at least once a year. Stoptober is an excellent opportunity to quit because there are so many other smokers across the country who are doing it at the same time as. There is nothing to lose, so why not give it a go?”

Dr Rosemary Leonard said: “We know it can be hard to give up smoking but now is the time to give it a try, whether it’s the first time or you’ve tried before. The Stoptober community can really help with motivation and staying on track. Additional support is also available from a variety of places including local stop smoking services, GPs, pharmacies and of course, the Stoptober and NHS Smokefree websites. Quitting smoking is the best thing a smoker can do for their health — Stoptober is a brilliant chance to quit with others for 28 days and see the benefits for yourself. If you’re a non-smoker, use this chance to support a loved one as they split up with smoking this Stoptober.”