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Smokers encouraged to quit during Stoptober as they report smoking more during the pandemic

In Stoptober’s 10th year, smokers across Norfolk and Waveney are encouraged to join the thousands of other smokers across the country who have made a quit attempt and successfully quit.

It comes after a recent nationwide survey of 2,000 current smokers found that nearly half (45%) have been smoking more since the first lockdown began. Key reasons reported were being bored in the lockdowns (43%) or the pandemic making them more anxious (42%). In addition, data from the monthly UCL Smoking Toolkit Study indicates a large increase in smoking among the under-35s since the coronavirus pandemic, up from 18% in 2019 to 24% now.

As a result of increased smoking behaviours during the pandemic, this year's Stoptober mass quit attempt is more important than ever. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death, and quitting remains one of the best things a smoker can do for their health.

Tracy Williams, Queens Nurse and Clinical Governing Body Member for NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said “It is never too late for you to quit smoking and for your longer-term health to benefit. No matter how long you have been a smoker, there is plenty of support you can access to help you across Norfolk and Waveney.

There are many benefits to stopping smoking: breathing will become easier, you will have increased energy levels, and you also reduce your risk of respiratory illnesses. We know that smoking cigarettes fills our lungs with toxins that have a harmful effect on the immune system.  This leaves us much more vulnerable to infections, including more severe symptoms if we caught Covid-19.  I encourage you to take that first step this Stoptober to quit smoking.”   

This year’s Stoptober campaign focus is ‘What will you start doing this Stoptober?’. When you stop smoking, you start doing so much more - from moving better to saving money and being able to breathe more easily. Stoptober encourages smokers to give quitting a go for the month of October, experience the benefits, and start doing more.

Did you know:

  • If you make it to 28 days smoke free, that you are five times more likely to quit smoking for good?
  • In 2021, the average smoker can save £5.21 a day, £36.47 a week, £156.30 a month and £1,875.60 a year by stopping smoking.
  • It’s never too late to quit. Stopping smoking brings immediate benefits to health, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease

Get ready to take the first step

Deciding to quit is the first step, and there are lots of resources and support to take the next steps.

In Norfolk and Waveney, Smokefree Norfolk and OneLife Suffolk offer local stop smoking services and support programmes. These include face-to-face support, stop smoking aids, nicotine replacement options, as well as structured 12-week support options.

The Better Health – Stoptober website has free support tools available, including the NHS Quit Smoking Stoptober app, daily email and SMS support, Facebook Messenger support, Facebook support group and the Personal Quit Plan, to help you find the combination of support to stay quit.

From Monday 11 October, a new MiQuit service is launching for pregnant women that provides information and tailored support and advice for your lifestyle direct to your phone. Find out more at JustOne Norfolk or text the word QUIT to 88010.  

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