Smokers encouraged to swap fags for gags

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England is encouraging smokers in Liverpool to swap their fags for gags, to help them quit for good this October.

Top British comedians including Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson, Jason Bent and Dr Bob) and Andi Osho will this year bring a touch of the British sense of humour to help quitters through this difficult and daunting challenge.

Smoking is no laughing matter and neither is quitting. Two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit but only four in ten told a recent survey that they have tried in the last year.There is no doubt that quitting is tough, but it is known that people who quit do feel better in time.

Dr Sandra Davies, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, said: “Signing up to quit smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. We know that the vast majority of smokers in Liverpool are keen to quit and there is lots of support to help with this process.

“If you have tried unsuccessfully to stop smoking before, it doesn’t matter, next time will be your successful time.”

The 2013 campaign saw 250,000 people across the country take part and 65% of those successfully quitting for 28 days. In Liverpool 2177 people signed up to take part in Stoptober 2013. Public Health England is hoping even more will get involved this year by searching ‘Stoptober’ online and signing up.

Lisa Williams, Service Manager for Roy Castle FagEnds, said: “Giving up smoking can be very difficult and we know it often takes more than one attempt for people to break the habit. The good news is that if you quit smoking for 4 weeks then we know you have a much greater chance of quitting for good.

FagEnds is here to support people throughout Stoptober and on into the future, so even if you’ve tried to quit before and not managed it yet, you shouldn’t give up on giving up”.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, said: “We know the idea of giving up smoking can be daunting, but Stoptober has proved itself to be a fantastic platform for people to quit and offers all the support that smokers may need to take the first step to stopping for good. With support from this year’s line up of comedians we are asking anyone who wants to quit to join the thousands of others and take up the challenge and give Stoptober a go – stop smoking and start smiling.”

Evidence shows that if a smoker can go 28 days without a cigarette, they are five times more likely to stay permanently smoke-free. Quitting smoking can be a difficult process but successfully quitting has significant health, monetary and social benefits.

Stoptober provides smokers with a range of free tools including a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app, text support with daily updates, quitting advice and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media channels.

For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind,click https://stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk/registration-c to sign up.