Kent County Council is backing the Stoptober campaign starting next month, supporting smokers to sign up and stub out.
With data showing that 19% of Kent residents are smokers (above the South East and national average), KCC is promoting Stoptober – Public Health England’s National campaign to encourage a 28 day mass Quit Smoking attempt. This year, support and encouragement will be provided at every step of the quit attempt from some of the nation’s top comedians.
To stand an even better chance of quitting, smokers are encouraged to sign up with their friends, family and colleagues, as evidence reveals that this type of ‘social quitting’ can dramatically improve people’s chances of successfully stopping.
Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops. The data also shows that individuals are much more likely (61%) to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes – showing the powerful influence that people’s social networks have on their own smoking behaviour.
This year, Stoptober will be providing quitters with a personal touch from some of the nation’s leading comedians – Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi. Messages of support and encouragement will be sent straight to quitters’ phones and emails throughout October. Rhod Gilbert said: “I smoked for about 25 years and probably spent 23 of those trying to quit, trying everything you can think of to kick the habit. I know first hand that it can be hard to find the motivation to quit, but Stoptober is the perfect time to give it a go.”
Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year, 36000 in the South East alone, with more than half making it to 28 days. This year, it is expected the campaign will welcome the millionth sign up. By stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.
As part of its public health responsibility, KCC is promoting the services available for those who want to quit. Director for Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “There are lots of resources and services available locally. If you are thinking about joining the Stoptober campaign, I would urge you to sign up today and join an army of people who will be quitting this October.”
Angela Baker, Deputy Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England South East added: “Even though the South East has a low prevalence of smoking (17.2%), some areas within our region have higher than national average rates. Stopping smoking is the most effective thing you can do to improve your health and we all want to be that bit healthier. Stopping smoking is a really difficult thing to do, but with support from friends, colleagues and the NHS, achieving your goal is much easier.”
By signing up to Stoptober, participants can choose from a range of free support tools including daily emails and text messages from the comedians throughout the 28 day quit attempt as well as a mobile phone app which includes lots more tips and advice – all of which have shown to increase the chances of staying smokefree.
Commissioned by KCC, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust offers year-round support to quit smoking and also runs a series of special Stoptober Quit Clubs. More information can be found by ringing 0300 123 1220 (option 1), at www.kenthealthandwellbeing.nhs.uk or text ‘QUIT’ to 87023
To sign up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober
 Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D: The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network, N Engl J Med 2008; 358:2249-2258, May 22, 2008, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa0706154