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Looking to quit smoking? Get by with a little help from your friends

People who are looking to quit smoking are being encouraged to sign up to this year's Stoptober campaign with friends, family or work colleagues.

Evidence shows "social quitting" - where groups collectively try to give up smoking - can dramatically improve people's chances of successfully stopping.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said that smokers are around two thirds more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking and a third more likely to do so when a close friend or someone they work with stops.

Data also shows that individuals are 61% more likely to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes - highlighting the powerful influence that people's social networks have on their own smoking behaviour.

Stoptober, Public Health England's national 28 day mass quit attempt, gets underway on 1 October, 2015, and as many of the estimated 42,847 people who smoke in Wolverhampton as possible are being urged to take part.

Latest figures show 22% of adults in Wolverhampton smoke, and even more worryingly 18% of women admit to smoking during pregnancy, potentially putting their unborn child at risk of harm. Meanwhile, just over 7% of 15 year olds say they smoke.

Smoking is still the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature deaths in the country, accounting for over 80,000 deaths in England a year. One in every 2 long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking related disease unless they quit.

But stopping smoking can significantly improve people's health and well being, on both a short term and long term basis.

For instance, 48 hours after stopping smoking, carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body, meaning the lungs can start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. At the same time, individuals' ability to taste and smell is greatly improved, and after 72 hours, breathing becomes easier. From 2 weeks onwards circulation improves.

Five years after quitting, an individual's risk of suffering a heart attack falls by around 50% compared with a person who is still smoking, while after 10 years it is the same as someone who has never smoked. Also 10 years after quitting, an individual's risk of lung cancer falls to about half compared with a person who still smokes.

There are also financial benefits; with a pack of 20 cigarettes now costing on average £8.69, someone who used to smoke 20 a day would save £260 a month - a staggering £31,200 over 10 years.

Councillor Samuels said: "Too many people in Wolverhampton are still putting their health at risk by smoking, and most worrying is the number of mums to be who endanger their unborn child by smoking during pregnancy.

"Stoptober is a great opportunity for smokers to make a serious quit attempt, particularly with the support of friends, family and work colleagues.

"Last year, hundreds of local people signed up to Stoptober and went on to quit successfully so I'd encourage anyone who wants to stop smoking to sign up today and give it their best shot."

By signing up to Stoptober, people will receive a range of free support tools including daily emails and text messages throughout the 28 day quit attempt as well as a mobile phone app packed with tips and advice. For more information, please visit Stoptober.

Help is also on hand for would be quitters from experts from Wolverhampton's Stop Smoking Service, who host a stop smoking clinic at the Civic Centre every Wednesday from 11.30am to -2pm.

Meanwhile, the Stop Smoking Service and West Midlands Fire Service will be staging a special Stoptober event at the Civic Centre from Monday to Friday, 5 to 9 October, 2015. For details of the Stop Smoking Service, please call 0800 073 4242 or 01902 444246.

  • released: Tuesday 15 September, 2015