Smokers in Nottingham are being encouraged to quit the cigarettes as part of an annual campaign.
Stoptober, the 28-day challenge that runs each year in October, targets people who would like to stop smoking and provides them with the help and support to do it.
The annual call-to-quit is organised each year by Public Health England and promoted in Nottingham by the City Council and New Leaf, the local stop-smoking service. It is based on the idea that smokers who stop for 28 days are five times more likely to pack up for good.
The Stoptober campaign started in 2012 and more than a million people have taken part. It is the country’s largest mass-quit attempt every year.
Locally in Nottingham, a quarter (25%) of the adult population smokes compared with 16% in the East Midlands and 15.5% nationally. The city figure is down from 37% in 2009.
A range of support tools are available this year as part of the Stoptober campaign. These include information about local stop-smoking services, like New Leaf in Nottingham City, motivational emails and app messages. This year the campaign is promoting use of e-cigarettes, alongside patches, gum and inhalators.
The Facebook Messenger ‘bot’ will be available again. Smokers can send an ‘SOS’ message whenever they feel the craving for a cigarette and it will respond with a suggestion of how to get past the moment.
Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “There are a number of reasons why smokers may decide they want to quit this year for Stoptober and all the help they need is on hand – including an interactive Facebook app.
“Smoking has a huge impact on the health of Nottingham’s citizens. It is a major cause of illness and is responsible for much of the differences in health between the richest and poorest people in our city.
“Stoptober is perfect for those smokers who want to quit. We can raise awareness of the damage smoking causes and the positive alternatives available, but ultimately it is down to the individual to take that initial decision. We understand how daunting it can be to give up tobacco but support is available every step of the way.”
The City Council was the first in the East Midlands in 2011 to introduce a voluntary ban on smoking in playgrounds and around school gates. It was followed by a motion passed in September 2014 where the authority agreed to introduce more smokefree areas where the public wanted them.
Anyone wanting more information or support to stop smoking can contact New Leaf on 0800 561 2121 or 0115 883 1540, text NEW to 80800 or visit https://www.newleafstopsmoking.co.uk
For more information about Stoptober, visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober/