Kent County Council is backing the Stoptober campaign starting next month, supporting smokers to sign up and stub out.

With data showing that 17% of Kent residents are smokers (above the South East and national average), KCC is promoting Stoptober - Public Health England’s national campaign - and reminding residents of the support services available in Kent for those who want to quit.

KCC Director for Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “Research shows that if you stop smoking for 28-days you are five times more likely to quit for good. We are encouraging our 200,600 smokers to take part in this year’s Stoptober campaign and take advantage of the quit kits and other resources and services available locally – we’re aiming for a Smokefree Kent.”

Commissioned by KCC, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust offers year-round support to quit smoking and also runs a series of special Stoptober Quit Clubs. Anne Ford, Assistant Director for Health Improvement for KCHFT said: “Our friendly and professional team can support you to go smokefree in October and stay smokefree, for life. We’ve got hundreds of different Quit Clubs and one-to-one clinics across Kent so you’re sure to find a time and place to suit you. This year as well as personal sessions we’re also giving away hundreds of free Quit Kits to anyone who wants to have a go at the month-long challenge by themselves. You’re up to 10 times more likely to quit with help, so get the support you need.”

Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers nationally who made a quit attempt during Stoptober, 500,000 people (20%) were successful - the highest recorded success rate and up from just 13.6% six years ago. From the app, email and social media support including Facebook Messenger, to more information about the expert face to face support that local Stop Smoking Services can offer, as well as the different types of stop smoking aids available; including medicines and e-cigarettes – Stoptober is here to help you.

Dr. Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said:“While we know that quitting smoking is not easy, this Stoptober is a perfect time to try again. The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking. There is more help and support available now than ever before. The introduction of standardised packs removes the glamorous branding and brings health warnings to the fore and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now regulated to assure their safety and quality.”

KCC supports Stoptober as part of its Smokefree Kent campaign which features former smokers who live and work in the county, promoting the different support options available to those who want to give up cigarettes. Adverts on social media highlight real life stories and local services such as pharmacies and NHS quit clubs and “do it yourself” quit kits and digital tools (such as mobile apps) to support people who want to quit independently. You can find out more about KCC’s Smokefree campaign and sign up to Stoptober at www.kent.gov.uk/stoptober

More information on the Kent support services and quit kits can also be found by ringing 0300 123 1220 (option 1), at www.kenthealthandwellbeing.nhs.uk or text ‘QUIT’ to 87023.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England adds:“While it is amazing that there are over twice as many ex-smokers as current smokers in England there are still over 7 million people regularly lighting up. Alongside unhealthy diet, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for over 78,000 deaths a year. Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health.”