Some 2.3 million people have made a quit attempt since the Stoptober campaign launched a decade ago, but for people who still smoke, it remains the leading preventable cause of premature death, causing almost 75,000 preventable deaths a year.
The 28-day Stoptober campaign begins on Friday (1 October), and is based on research that shows that people who can stop smoking for 28 days are 5 times more likely to stay smoke free for good.
Smoking rates in Wolverhampton have continued to decrease over recent years. Many have quit over the last 18 months after research found smokers were likely to suffer more severe symptoms if they contracted Covid-19 than non-smokers. Regionally, however, rates of smoking among young adults have increased during the pandemic.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you, on both a short-term and long-term basis.
"Stopping smoking brings multiple benefits, some immediate and others that build over time. These include being able to start moving better, being able to breathe more easily and saving money with the average smoker saving £1,875.60 a year by quitting smoking; heavy smokers will save considerably more.
“And with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing and smokers likely to suffer more severe coronavirus symptoms than non-smokers, it’s never been more important for people to quit.
“While it might not be easy, Stoptober is the perfect time to give it a try – particularly with the support of friends, family and work colleagues. Remember, if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you’re five times more likely to quit for good.”
Dr Lola Abudu, Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England West Midlands, added: “This is the 10th anniversary of Stoptober, which has helped over two million people to quit.
“Smoking damages the lungs and airways, making it harder to breathe. Each cigarette fills lungs with toxins which harm the immune system and leave us more vulnerable to infections, including Covid-19.
"However, it’s never too late to quit, and more than half of smokers want to kick the habit. So this Stoptober, join thousands of people who have quit over the last 10 years; start breathing more easily, reduce the risk of lung and heart conditions and certain cancers, and save all the money that goes up in smoke to enjoy the things you missed during lockdowns.”
Stoptober offers a range of free support tools for those looking to quit, including digital services that are easily accessible for those looking for online support. These tools include the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot and online communities, SMS and daily emails.