A pile of burnt out cigarettes

Stoptober: smokers across London urged to quit this October

Smokers across London have been urged to have a go at kicking the habit this October, as part of the annual Stoptober campaign. 

The initiative, which is now in its 12th year, challenges smokers to give up cigarettes for 28 days.

If they manage to do this, research suggests that they will then be five times more likely to stop smoking for good.

This year’s initiative comes on the heels of a study published on Wednesday by the Department of Health and Social Care which found that 95% of ex-smokers saw positive changes soon after quitting.

As early as two weeks after their last cigarette, those surveyed reported that they had more energy, felt healthier and could breathe better. 

Beyond this, people who give up cigarettes will also enjoy significant financial benefits.

Data from Stop Smoking London suggests that someone with a 20-a-day habit could be more than £4500 a year better off without nicotine.

The London drive to help more people realise these changes for themselves is spearheaded by Stop Smoking London and the London Tobacco Alliance, a coalition of public health directors, regional authorities and volunteers who aim to make London smoke-free by 2030.

To this end, Stop Smoking London have released a practical Smokefree at Work Toolkit, aimed in sectors where rates of smoking are higher, such as construction. 

This has been paired with an online resource bank that dispels some of the misconceptions that people have around nicotine vaping. 

Tracy Parr, the Programme Director for Stop Smoking London said: “Our to help make more Londoners who smoke aware that help exists and encourage them to give us a call.”

However, Stoptober is not just limited to large-scale public health organisations and government bodies.

Smaller Stop Smoking services are also keen to play their role in encouraging people to quit for good.

For Sierien Razak, frontline trainer and outreach co-ordinator at One You Merton, this meant she and her team distributed information leaflets to youth centres in her area and set up a stall at nearby Merton College’s Freshers Fair.

By her estimates, Stoptober has been a force for good in Merton.

She said: “I think the fact that this campaign has stayed all these years would prove that it is a success.

“From our feedback, we have found that it is a good chance for smokers and it is encouraging for them because they are focusing on stopping smoking for one month and there are also incentives to support them.” 

In response to the newest evidence on the wellbeing increases seen in former smokers, she noted how much this matched what those who her team had helped had noticed.

She said: “People report that they feel free when they are no longer addicted to cigarettes. They feel free from having to do something every day. 

“They feel that they are more able to cope with life as they dont have the added stress of dealing with an addiction.”

For those looking to quit smoking, this Stoptober or beyond, it is recommended that they do not rely on willpower alone. 

Instead, they should take advantage of networks like Stop Smoking or One You Merton.

There, they can find advice on how to use ‘clean nicotine’ like patches or vapes and receive personalised support plans for when they are struggling. 

Most importantly, it is not worth letting the possibility of a relapse stop them from trying to quit.

The fact that past attempts may not have worked does not mean the next try can’t be the final one. 

For more information on the dangers of smoking and how to quit, visit the Stop Smoking London website and for free one-to-one support with a specialised advisor call the Stop Smoking London Helpline at 0300 123 1044.

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