Stoptober kicks off in Bexley
PUBLISHED: 15:06 01 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:07 01 October 2013
A challenge is being made to smokers to quit their potentially life-ending habit for 28 days - and Smokefree Bexley can help you/
It is Stoptober, a national campaign being held during this month.
According to Jo Woodvine, manager of Smokefree Bexley, if you can give up for 28 days then you will be through the worst of it,
She said: “No one has died from giving up. But if you carry on smoking, you have a one-in-two chance of dying from a smoking-related illness.
“If you can get through 28 days, then things will only get easier.
Cigarette smoking is the single greatest cause of illness or premature death in the UK.
About 100,000 people die each year due to smoking-related illnesses.
Only about half of long-term smokers live past the age of 70.
About 30,000 people die from lung cancer in the UK every year – eight in 10 cases are directly linked to smoking.
Experts think, if current quitting trends continue, smoking could be stubbed out by 2050.
Doctors say that those who stay smoke-free for four weeks are five times as likely to steer clear of cigarettes than those who don’t see out Stoptober.
Since October 2012, 2,203 smokers set a quit date with Smokefree Bexley and 1,160 succcessfully gave up.
During Stoptober last year, 233 people locally set a quit date with the service and 138 were successful at the end of the 28-day challenge.
“Nicotine is highly addictive and, the longer you carry on, the harder it will be to give up.”
One Bexley resident taking on the Stoptober challenge is 56-year-old Susan Charles.
Susan, of Thamesmead, has been smoking for 40 years and has tried giving up before without any success.
Her habit gave her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which makes it very difficult to breathe.
She has been joined on her quest by her 30-year-old firefighter son Marc. She hopes this will give her the spur to kick the habit for good.
She said: “I’ve tried quitting before but never been able to manage it. I got addicted at a very young age and that’s something I’d definitely warn against!
“When I started smoking there was less information about the health risks.”
Anyone who joins in the Stoptober challenge gets a free pack to help them get through the 28 days.
This includes daily cards which explain the health and financial benefits of giving up, as well as a stress ball to give people something to do with their hands while they are working off the frustration.
People will also receive daily text messages of support if they wish.
Jo added: “Last year Stoptober was an amazing success and showed how many people want to pack it in.
“Our mobile stop smoking buses will be visible throughout October so look out for us if you want advice and support.
“The quit smoking kits are free of charge and have everything you might possibly need to give up for good.”
The buses will target the borough’s biggest employer, Bexley Council.
Bexley Smokefree has won multiple awards in recognition of its work stretching back more than a decade and its advisers know how difficult it is to give up such an addictive habit.
Susan wants to extend her smoke-free life beyond October but she is clear about what her biggest obstacle will be.
“I want to stay off cigarettes after Stoptober. It helps doing it with my son. Hopefully we’ll pull each other through it.
“The hardest thing will be staving off boredom and finding something to do with my time and hands because I’m so used to having a cigarette in them.”
If you’re interested in quitting, call 0800 793 2514 or visit smokefreebexley.co.uk.