Stoptober urges smokers to 'mass quit'

Stubbing out cigarette Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England

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Smokers are being asked to give up smoking for 28 days from 1 October in the first mass quit attempt.

Stoptober, backed by Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, hopes a united effort will help many of England's eight million smokers to quit successfully.

Research shows people who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free.

It also shows mass movements and mass media campaigns can have a big impact.

Public health experts say campaigns that include a combination of hard-hitting "why to quit" and supportive "how to quit" messages work best.

Giving up smoking can be difficult. People are much more likely to quit successfully if they get support than if they try to do it alone and go cold-turkey.

Quitting tips

  • Be clear why you want to quit
  • Tell people you are quitting and use their support
  • Use stop smoking services
  • Have a plan

Robert West, director of tobacco studies at University College London, told the BBC there was good reason to set up a mass movement to help smokers quit because people are "social animals" influenced by each other.

Smokers who join Stoptober are given free support to help them quit. There is a mobile phone app that can monitor quitters' progress and the offer of daily motivational texts to keep them on track.

There is also a Stoptober Facebook page where people can exchange ideas and get additional tips and advice.

According to the Department of Health, smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK each year.

One in two long-term smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Number one tip on BBC website for quitting:

    Be clear why you want to quit.

    Ah, easy: I don't want to quit. So I will fail already. May as well have a ciggy then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    I have never yet met anyone who, having given it up, regretted doing so and subsequently decided to take up smoking again.
    Good luck to all those who are trying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    When I gave up (cold turkey) I said to myself the old AA credo that today I am not going to smoke; I could handle the fact that today I was not going to smoke. I could not have handled the thought of never smoking again, ever. That was over five years ago on the day of the pub smoking ban.

    One day at a time makes it easier than you think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    I've got my Stoptober stress ball thing and cutting out all nicotine products. I give up very often for a few days or a week but very rarely for as long 28 days. I am hoping to crack it permanently. Its great motivation for so many people to give up at once. I wish I had never started, if only I had listened to the warnings. I am a little concerned that Stoptober may ruin the economy from lost tax

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Funny. Scanning the comments nobody has said "nanny state" and nobody has linked this with the changes to sign everyone up to pensions by default. I'm sure there is a link there somewhere...

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    I quit in February 2009 with the help of patches & a quit smoking counsellor.
    I was smoking 50-60 a day & yes quitting was unpleasant to begin with.
    I just kept reminding myself that the next cigarette would kill me, because it would signify my failure to stop.
    The £20,000 I've saved in that time pays for two holidays a year in the US & other nice things.
    I'm glad I stopped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.


    Where's all that tax going to come from now?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Free treatment is available on the NHS, with the latest nicoteen products prescribed for 3 months.

    Good Luck, Just do it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Good luck to all of you! I'm an ex-smoker and so happy, you can be too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Good luck to anyone who wants to quit. I am a smoker and far healthier than many who don't smoke! I find there are more offensive people out than smoking! Examples are - body odour,fly tipping, obesity, spoiled children and more more. Besides when you walk along the footpath you are inhaling traffic fumes. These comments from non-smokers are hilarious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Having worked in health promotion with the NHS and directly with people looking to quit smoking I can safely say that this is purely and simply a waste of time.

    A smoker will quit smoking only when their willpower is stronger than their addiction. Some organisation choosing a specific month for every one to stop is very cute and well-meaning but is ultimately pointless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    What a great campaign, I really hope it works and all the people that take part notice the health benefits when they have stopped smoking. They have a pretty good App available too for people wanting help on the go, it's available from the NHS Stoptober website.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    @ 59 - I'm sorry that questioning research has offended you so much. My question still stands, who conducted the research, how was it conducted and where can I see the results?

    I'm not interested in your aggressive attack on me questioning the research, I just want to know who,where and how it was conducted. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to question research, sorry it offended you so much.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Hey 56. Riggadon - sounds like you're a very frustrated smoker. I understand as I used to be the same. I stopped by visiting the Allen Carr clinic. Give it a go when you decide that you want to stop. It works without gimmicks or substitutes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Having been a smoker for approx 20 years I gave up 8 years ago this Autumn and never looked back. It was hard, and going cold turkey was the only way for me after several other attempts over the years.
    The only way you will succeed whatever method you choose is if YOU want to quit - otherwise forget it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    i am considering taking up smoking. Should I go straight on to cigarettes or start off on patches and work up to it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    #44 making it illegal to put anything into your body that could be harmful? What are you Big Brother? People will always smoke and drink, as long as they don't force it on others why should anyone force them to quit? if they CHOOSE to quit make the support available, otherwise leave people to live their own lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    It it works for 1 person that is a good result. But the money spent on publicity is not worth it. Most people who quit smoking do so by believing in themselves alone first and not from external sources.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    @ 38. Poddy100

    If you're saying that eventually the tax will end up with the tax man then why don't we pay 1% tax on everything? We will have more money to spend so we'll buy more so the tax man gets more and eventually he will have the same amount.

    Ironic how you're insinuating i'm not sharp!

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Yet another stash of money being wasted. Add £2 million to all the previous amounts doled out like jelly babies and you,re talking about more than enough to employ many more Doctors and nurses. Add all the lost revenue from the businesses that have closed ( smoking ban ) mand there would be no need to deny patients much needed drugs.
    Is the Government addicted to wasting tax payers money?


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