Stoptober starts today (01/10), with thousands across the country looking to ‘split up’ with smoking. Public Health England is calling on loved ones to support those looking to quit this year. Research shows that friends and family are key when it comes to quitting, with 2 in 3 Stoptober participants highlighting the importance of this in their attempt to quit.

The campaign launches at a time when latest figures from the UCL Smoking Toolkit Study suggest that smoking rates in England are dropping at the fastest rate in over a decade, with around 200 fewer smokers every hour. However, with 14.5% adults still smoking in the West Midlands, Stoptober took to the streets to help quitters stay motivated for this year’s mass quit attempt, by surprising passers-by with a giant cigarette being chased by the widely recognised Stoptober ball.

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.

TV presenter, Nadia Sawalha who is supporting Stoptober said:

“I always knew smoking was bad for me, but I was addicted. I loved cigarettes and for years I used to joke that giving up smoking was like giving up a bad boy lover. You think you’re having the best of times, but the truth is deep down you know they’re no good for you. After several attempts I did succeed and ended my relationship with smoking and I’m so pleased I did, the feeling of being smokefree and no longer feeling guilty about smoking is amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends who helped me resist the urge to turn back to cigarettes if I was stressed or upset. I’d encourage anyone thinking about quitting to give Stoptober a go and see if they can split up with smoking for 28 days.”

Yvonne Doyle, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at Public Health England, said:

“It’s really encouraging to see these early signs of such a fast drop in smokers but we’ve still got a way to go to achieve our ambition of a smoke-free society. That’s why Stoptober is back and we are encouraging all smokers to take part. Giving up smoking is the best thing a smoker can do for their health and it can also help save money – in just 28 days smokers will start to notice so many benefits.”

Smokers can search ‘Stoptober’ to find out about the range of free and proven support available to help them start their quitting journey today.