Next week marks the launch of this year’s Stoptober challenge. Starting on 1 October, smokers are encouraged and supported to quit smoking, first over an initial 28-day period, then hopefully for good, writes Dr Jonty Heaversedge, chair of Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group…
If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the wellbeing of those around you. It helps you feel healthier, save money and protect the people you love from the harm of second-hand smoke.ext week marks the launch of this year’s Stoptober challenge. Starting on 1 October, smokers are encouraged and supported to quit smoking, first over an initial 28-day period, then hopefully for good.
There’s been good progress. Nationally, smoking is at an all-time low, and in Southwark, the smoking rate has fallen by almost a third since 2012.
But despite the clear health and financial benefits of kicking the habit, it’s not always that easy to give up – especially without the right support. In Southwark there are over 30,000 households in the borough still home to at least one smoker.
We know that many smokers try to quit using sheer willpower, which may work for some, but the evidence shows that it’s much easier to do so with the right support and using a variety of methods that work for you.
That’s where the Stoptober campaign and local smoking support services come in. They help smokers quit through several support options, including face-to-face help from local pharmacists and the specialist stop smoking service in Southwark.
The Southwark stop smoking service is available all year round and with their help you are three times more likely to quit than if you go it alone. The service has trained advisers to help you quit, regular sessions to encourage you to keep going, and expert advice on the choice of medication that works for you.
For information on Southwark stop smoking services, call 0800 169 6002 or email the team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can visit a pharmacy stop smoking service and the location of participating pharmacies are found on the CCG’s website: www.southwarkccg.nhs.uk/your-health/healthy/stopping-smoking
Thousands of people in England have also stopped smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, known as vapes. Vaping is estimated to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes and can be particularly effective when combined with expert face-to-face support. Your stop smoking services will be able offer help and advice with vaping.
Smokers also have access to free online and digital resources like a Personal Quit Plan, which helps find the right combination of support that works for you, including nicotine replacement therapies, and the Stoptober app, where you can track your progress and see how much money you’re saving.
There’s also the option of signing up to daily emails, which provide useful tips on quitting.
Over the past eight years, Stoptober has supported 1.9 million people on the quit journey – providing advice, encouragement and practical support. And if you can make it to 28-days without smoking, then you’re five times more likely to give up completely.
Whether you’ve tried to quit before, or are doing it for the first time, come and join this year’s Stoptober campaign and go smoke-free. To find out more, just go online and search ‘Stoptober’