This Stoptober, a new app is available in Kent, offering digital help to residents who want to quit smoking.
Latest Office of National Statistics figures show the number of people in Kent who smoke has fallen from 15% in 2018 to 13.7% last year and is at a record low but with COVID-19 still prevalent, and causing more severe symptoms for smokers, there has been no better time to quit.
The new app provided by Breaking Free Online – ‘My Quit Route’ is available now on the Google and Apple stores, plus also at www.oneyoukent.org.uk
It provides Kent residents with personalised support to help them quit smoking with motivational tools and evidence-based behaviour change techniques including a money saving calculator to help them prepare to quit, and then stay smoke free in the long-term. It also signposts those who require professional help to their local support services.
Kent County Council Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that smoking increases the severity of the symptoms and by quitting, you can reduce the chance of needing to go to hospital. Alongside the #QuitforCovid campaign, Stoptober is always a great reminder nationally of the support available – the ‘My Quit Route’ app will be part of the help offered through the One You Kent services and may benefit those who prefer to use online self-help measures.”
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust provides smoking cessation services across Kent. Sarah Martin, One You Service Manager said: “We know many people are worried about COVID-19 and the effect it could have on themselves or others in their lives who smoke. With Stoptober just around the corner, there has never been a better time to think about quitting. Research shows that if you quit for 28 days, you’re five times more likely to quit for good. The My Quit Route app will be promoted by our advisors as part of the One You Kent support to help people to help themselves during these very challenging times.”
Smoking tobacco damages the lungs, weakens the immune system and causes a range of severe respiratory problems. Evidence so far suggests people who smoke may be at increased risk of contracting more severe symptoms if they get COVID-19.
As well as reducing the risks from complications from coronavirus, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and your breathing. It also reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes at a time when the NHS is coming under strain.
Terry Blair-Stevens, Public Health Consultant in Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England South East, said: “While the pandemic has meant this year has been very challenging and stressful for many, Stoptober remains an ideal time for smokers to try and quit – regardless of how many times they may have tried in the past.
“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. Quitting really is the best thing a smoker can do for their health.”
Leading UK health organisations including ASH, British Lung Foundation, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK are joining in the call to get smokers in England to give quitting a go this Stoptober.
Stoptober provides the information and support people need to quit smoking for 28 days, based on research that if a smoker can make it to 28 days smokefree, they are five times more likely to quit for good.
This year, Stoptober is offering a range of free support tools for those looking to quit, including digital services that are easily accessible for those looking for online support. These tools include the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot and online communities, SMS and daily emails. There is also a Personal Quit Plan that helps people find a combination of stop smoking support that’s right for them, with options including expert support from local Stop Smoking Services, stop smoking aids and digital tools. Search ‘Stoptober’ now for a full range of quitting support options.
Find out more about the ‘My Quit Route’ app plus a range of tools, tips and local support services that can help you at www.oneyoukent.org.uk