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Highest smoking quit success on record coincides with launch of Stoptober

Posted on Thursday 21 September 2017
Gateshead Stoptober 2017-0365LD-RESIZED-006

(l to r): Catherine Taylor, Fresh Smoke Free North East; Jacqui Luker, Specialist Nurse Practitioner - Occupational Health Department; Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, Gateshead Council; Councillor Mary Foy, Cabinet Member for Health and We

THOUSANDS of smokers in Gateshead are being encouraged to take part in Stoptober as new data published today shows quitting success rates are at their highest for at least a decade.

The report by the University College of London (UCL) shows quitting rates were up to 19.8% for the first six months of this year, significantly higher than the average for the last 10 years (15.7%).

Success rates among the less well-off have for years remained consistently low, but in a major turnaround in the sharp increase in success rates is being seen entirely among those smokers. For the first time, smokers in manual occupational groups have virtually the same chances of quitting as those in white collar jobs.

The report coincides with the launch of the Stoptober quit smoking challenge, which has inspired over one and a half million quit attempts since 2012 with nearly 50,000 sign ups so far in the North East. The campaign is based on research that if you stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

With Stoptober now in its 6th year, the UCL report gives a number of reasons why there’s never been a better time to quit, including:

  • better and more quitting aid options, with e-cigarettes now the most popular;
  • banning the use of attractive brand imagery on tobacco packaging with plain, standardised tobacco packs;
  • a strong anti-smoking culture in England; and
  • stop smoking campaigns such as Stoptober.

Last year over half (53%) of all those taking part in Stoptober opted to use an e-cigarette as a quitting aid. This year the campaign will feature e-cigarettes in the TV ad and will do more to encourage and support smokers who are keen to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “Most smokers have tried to quit before, so it is fantastic to see more people are now quitting successfully. Stoptober is another chance to quit for good.

“The North East is now at a historic low for smoking with 17.2% of people smoking in 2016 compared to 29% of people in 2005. Smoking seems to be less desirable than ever before and quitting is much more appealing. The terrible health consequences stand out much more on cigarette packs, and electronic cigarettes have clearly helped many former smokers as a much less harmful gateway out of smoking.”

Councillor Mary Foy, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Earlier this year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces and since then we have made progress as the proportion of the population who smoke has continued to decline. However we must remember that in Gateshead every 21 hours a person loses their fight against a smoking related disease while many others continue to struggle with debilitating illnesses. It’s really important that during Stoptober we encourage people to stop smoking as they are much more likely to succeed with support from the scheme, the NHS and other participants.”

Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, said: “Quitting success rates are higher than ever. I think the advances and wider choice of effective quitting options and a strong anti-smoking culture are fuelling this acceleration.

“Thinking about giving up may be daunting, but all the evidence shows there has never been an easier to time to stop. Quitting needn’t be the painful journey it used to be and the support you’ll get from Stoptober will increase your chances of succeeding.”

The campaign starts on 1st October. Search ‘Stoptober’ online for all the support you need to quit.