Stoptober triggers massive jump in people trying to quit smoking

In collaboration with the Press Association

The national anti-smoking campaign Stoptober saw more than a third of a million people in England trying to quit over the month, according to UCL researchers.

"Quitting is not always an easy feat but, given that smokers lose an average of 10 years of life compared to non-smokers, the benefits of giving up are clear.” - Nicola Smith, Cancer Research UK

The estimated 350,000 extra people equates to 50 per cent more attempts to kick the habit during Stoptober 2012 than in other months that year.

The report, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, also says the Public Health England initiative was cost-effective.

The researchers estimate that around 10,400 years of life were saved at a cost of just £550 per year.

Researchers analysed the number of smokers trying to quit during Stoptober by studying information from a large national survey undertaken with smokers and ex-smokers in England between 2007 and 2012. 

Dr Jamie Brown, research associate and an author on the study, said: “The data clearly show Stoptober resulted in a large increase in the number of people stopping smoking in England.”

Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “We are thrilled to have such powerful results for the campaign and so many people making an attempt to give up smoking.”

Nicola Smith, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer said: “It’s great to see that Stoptober helped many more people try and quit smoking, and although the data don’t tell us how many managed to kick their habit for good, we hope that many of those quit attempts succeeded.

“Mass media campaigns can play an important role in raising awareness of the gold-standard stop smoking support available on the NHS. Quitting is not always an easy feat but, given that smokers lose an average of 10 years of life compared to non-smokers, the benefits of giving up are clear.”

Stoptober runs through four weeks in October when smokers are offered help through support packs, social media activities and tips and advice.

Copyright Press Association 2014

References

  • Brown J, et al. (2014). How effective and cost-effective was the national mass media smoking cessation campaign ‘Stoptober’?, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 135 52-58. DOI: