WHAT better time for Wigan’s 60,000 smokers to quit than Stoptober?
The annual campaign launches this Thursday with a special focus on couples addicted to the deadly weed, the claim being they have a better chance of kicking the habit if they try together.
In fact there’s a 67 per cent greater chance of successfully ditching tobacco if you attempt it simultaneously with a loved one (than doing it alone) and 36 if you chime it with a friend.
Latest figures show that 20.2 per cent of Wigan borough’s 320,000 residents are smokers. It’s a lot smaller figure than it would have been a generation or two ago but as a percentage it is still higher than the national average.
By signing up to Stoptober, quitters will get humorous supportive messages sent direct to their phones from some of the nation’s top comedians: Bill Bailey, Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rhod Gilbert.
Combining online support from comedians with a smoker’s “real world” social groups designed to help increase their chances of getting through 28 days smokefree.
Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year 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.
Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “We recognise that quitting smoking is a difficult thing to do but there are services across Wigan borough which will support you every step of the way.
“To maximise the likelihood of a successful quit, we would recommend smokers use the expert support available from Wigan HealthyRoutes Health Improvement Service, pharmacists or GPs, all of whom can help our residents to break the habitual behaviour element of smoking so that smokers are not just swapping one addictive product for another.
“Anyone who wants to find out more about quitting can go to www.wigan.gov.uk and search for stop smoking.”
Coun Paul Prescott, co-chair of Smoke Free Wigan and Leigh, said: “Make this Stoptober the one where you finally take those first steps to stop smoking for good. Everyone knows the difference quitting can make to your health and your pocket too so what are you waiting for? And with the variety of help from the likes of Wigan HealthyRoutes Health Improvement Service they can help you find the best way to stay smoke free for good.”
Prof Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England, said:
“Stoptober will be providing people with more engaging and personalised support than ever. Along with receiving proven advice and support, participants this year will get encouragement every day from some of the best comedians in the country to help them reach 28 days smokefree.
“The benefits of stopping smoking are almost immediate: quitters will soon see reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. It is one of the best things a person can do to improve their health and reduce their chances of developing long-term conditions and dying prematurely. Sign up today and get ready to start your quitting journey with our support on October 1.”
Rhod Gilbert, who is supporting this year’s campaign, 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.
“Not only will you be joining thousands of others taking part, you’ll also have exclusive support from myself, Bill Bailey, Shappi Khorsandi and the Pub Landlord, as well as access to lots of other help along the way. My advice to those taking on Stoptober would be to take the 28 days one day at a time.”
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.
To sign up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober
For more information on stop smoking services across the borough go to www.wigan.gov.uk.