Highest smoking quit success rates on record

Published Thursday, 21st September 2017

THOUSANDS of smokers in Hartlepool are being encouraged to take part in Stoptober as new data published today shows quitting success rates are at their highest for at least a decade.

The report by the University College of London (UCL) shows quitting rates were up to 19.8% for the first six months of this year, significantly higher than the average for the last 10 years (15.7%).

Stoptober 2017 web 1

(L-R) Andy Lloyd (Head of Media and Comms at Fresh and Balance), Alexe Gunn (Comms Officer), Pat Marshall (Service Lead at North of Tees Stop Smoking Service (SSS), Patricia Turnbull (SSS user and recent quitter), Paul Edmondson-Jones (Interim Director of Public Health at Hartlepool Council), Carole Johnson (The Council's Head of Health Improvement) and Ali Johns (Specialist SSS Advisor)

The report coincides with the launch of the Stoptober quit smoking challenge, which has inspired over one and a half million quit attempts since 2012 with nearly 50,000 sign ups so far in the North East. The campaign is based on research that if you stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

With Stoptober now in its 6th year, the UCL report gives a number of reasons why there’s never been a better time to quit, including:

· better and more quitting aid options, with e-cigarettes now the most popular;

· banning the use of attractive brand imagery on tobacco packaging with plain, standardised tobacco packs;

· a strong anti-smoking culture in England; and

· stop smoking campaigns such as Stoptober.

Last year over half (53%) of all those taking part in Stoptober opted to use an e-cigarette as a quitting aid. This year the campaign will feature e-cigarettes in the TV ad and will do more to encourage and support smokers who are keen to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Chair of the town's Health and Wellbeing Board and Leader of the Council said: "We all know someone who has felt the devastating effects of a disease or life-limiting illness caused by smoking.

"We're calling on smokers to make the pledge to take better care of their health, reduce the harmful impact smoking has on their loved ones and lower the burden placed by smoking-related illnesses on the NHS. Sign up today and stop for good."

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “Most smokers have tried to quit before, so it is fantastic to see more people are now quitting successfully. Stoptober is another chance to quit for good.

“The North East is now at a historic low for smoking with 17.2% of people smoking in 2016 compared to 29% of people in 2005. Smoking seems to be less desirable than ever before and quitting is much more appealing. The terrible health consequences stand out much more on cigarette packs, and electronic cigarettes have clearly helped many former smokers as a much less harmful gateway out of smoking.”

Great-grandma Patricia Turnbull from Hartlepool believes you’re never too old to stop smoking. The 65-year-old has saved £700 since she quit cigarettes four months ago.

“I was smoking about 30-a-day.

“You don’t think back then that things will catch up with you, but they do. A few months ago, I’d been having chest problems and my voice was croaky, I’d also been a bit breathless at times.

“When I visited my dentist for a routine appointment, she told me she had seen red patches on the roof of my mouth and I needed to see my GP.

“That was when I was diagnosed with COPD which was a huge shock. I knew I had to make lifestyle changes which involved giving up cigarettes.

“I like the money coming in now and don’t want that to stop! I have started to do the house up with the £5-a-week I’ve saved. I’ve bought a new cooker, curtains, cushions and wallpaper with the money I would have spent on cigarettes.

“My daughter, Kelly has been very supportive of me which is great. She said I’ve showed great determination.

“I’d encourage everyone who smokes to give Stoptober a go. I’m already supporting my neighbours in giving up and one of them has even attended the clinic with me."

The campaign starts on 1st October. Search ‘Stoptober’ online for all the support you need to quit.