Stoptober – England’s mass 28-day stop smoking attempt - is back following its huge success last year, which saw 160,000 people complete the challenge.
Across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk 19.9% of adults (estimated around 630,000 people) still smoke and it remains the nation’s biggest killer with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking disease.
The Public Health England campaign comes 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 seven days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life.
A person stopping smoking for 28 days is five times more likely to stay smokefree and Stoptober’s ambition is to help smokers achieve this goal.
Along with the health benefits, quitting saves 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.
Dr Gina Radford, Centre Director, Public Health England Anglia & Essex, said: “Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable disease and death. We know that almost one in five people living in East Anglia still smoke, and we would strongly encourage them to take up the Stoptober challenge. Giving up for 28 days means that you are more likely to stay smokefree, feel better and live a longer and healthier life.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: "Half of all 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 £2.7bn each year.
"Life is precious and you can gain up to seven days for every 28 you remain smokefree. Taking part in the challenge is a first step to a longer and healthier life.
"Have a go, by stopping with Stoptober.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing 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 forty-a-day smoker, Rory Coleman will be running 28 miles a day for 28 days in a row across England and Wales.
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, or visit http://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england