With figures at their lowest levels, smokers in Kent are being reminded of ways to help them quit as the national ‘Stoptober’ campaign this year encourages them to ‘end a bad relationship and split up’ with cigarettes.
Figures for Kent last year show a decrease down to 15 per cent of residents being smokers – approximately 185,000 people – and the number of people who have never smoked is on the rise, up to 56.2 per cent.
“What started as an on and off occurrence at school, turned into 15 a day. I tried to quit in the past using various aids but I was not successful,” explains 43-year-old Pascal Benn from Gravesend who finally managed to give up cigarettes during last year’s campaign. He added: “I decided to do Stoptober, challenging myself to quit smoking for the entire month of October. Good news, I was successful and have been smoke-free since! Now I feel disgusted at the sight of a cigarette and have come to realise that the cigarette was in control of me, not the other way around.”
Kent County Council is promoting the Public Health England ‘Stoptober’ campaign by reminding residents of the support services available for those who want to quit.
KCC Director for Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “This national campaign is always an excellent incentive as research shows that if you stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to quit for good. You’ll find plenty of support through local drop-in services, quit kits and other resources – we really would echo the national campaign by encouraging people to end this bad relationship for a considerably healthier future.”
Commissioned by KCC, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) offers year-round support to quit smoking. Local services such as pharmacies, NHS quit clubs and digital tools (such as mobile apps) are available to support people who want to quit independently.
Anne Ford, KCHFT Clinical Service Manager Public Health said: “We know it can be tough to quit smoking but we are here to help. We offer lots of different types of support, from groups to one-to-one clinics, to support from your local pharmacy. We’ve helped thousands of people in Kent to quit smoking and be smokefree for life.”
Despite smoking rates being lower than ever before, thousands still smoke so Public Health England (PHE) is promoting the return of Stoptober to encourage smokers to try and end their bad relationship with smoking.
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.
Jason Mahoney, health & wellbeing programme lead at Public Health England South East said: “Stoptober is a perfect time for smokers to try and end their harmful relationship with smoking – however many times they may have tried in the past. The annual campaign provides the perfect opportunity for family, friends and colleagues to work together towards quitting smoking for good.
“Now more than ever before there are a host of quit smoking aids and free support services available. I would encourage anyone thinking of quitting to visit the Stoptober website, make a plan and commit to quit with Stoptober. Evidence shows you are more likely to quit with support from a local stop smoking service than if you try to go it alone.”
Just search ‘Stoptober’ online to find a range of free quitting support including the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails and Stoptober online communities. You can also try the ‘How are You?’ quiz or book up for a free NHS Health Check and find out more about a range of tools, tips and local support services that can help you at www.oneyoukent.org.uk
Alternatively, ring 0300 123 1220 (option 1), or text ‘QUIT’ to 87023.