Updated: Sunday, 19th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Stoptober: Campaign urges smokers to stub it out after Manchester named UK's smoking death capital

Stoptober: Campaign urges smokers to stub it out after Manchester named UK's smoking death capital

By Alan Ross

Smokers are being urged to add an extra week to their life by taking part in Stoptober after Manchester was revealed as having the highest rate of death rates earlier this year.

The government and charity-backed campaign is challenging smokers to quit for 28 days claiming that for every smoke-free month they can add an extra week to their lives.

The Public Health England (PHE) initiative saw 160,000 people successfully take on the challenge in 2012.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said: “Whilst smoking prevalence across the country as a whole is falling steadily, it remains high in some parts and is still the biggest cause of premature death with more than 80,000 deaths in England every year.”

Figures from the city centre-based social enterprise Tobacco Free Futures estimates that smokers cost Manchester £177million a year.

David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: “We want to help as many people as possible in Manchester to quit.

“There is a wide range of support available. For example our local stop smoking services are doing a great job, and last year thousands of people successfully quit with their help.”

Advice is on offer from the Manchester Stop Smoking Service at a number of weekly drop-ins across Manchester including Longsight, Gorton and Harpurhey Markets.

The Greater Manchester Health Bus, which offers a Stop Smoking Service, has already begun a tour of the region and will visit Bury every Wednesday in October.

Last year the NHS trust in Wigan helped 3,500 people stop smoking including resident Marilyn Cronshaw who sought help to curb her 60 cigarette a day habit, and has now not had a cigarette in eight months.

Ms Cronshaw, who started smoking at 15, urged others to take up the challenge and said: “I recommend taking part in Stoptober and getting in touch with the stop smoking service.

“Smoking urges come in waves but they soon pass. If you set yourself goals as a reward for not smoking you can stay a quitter.”

Elsewhere in Greater Manchester the charity foundation of Salford City Reds rugby league team, who have an on-going 'Tackle smoking' campaign, have launched a new initiative with Stoptober.

The Salford Red Devils Foundation is looking for volunteers to record their experiences of trying to give up throughout the month.

All the volunteers will receive health assistance as well as lifestyle and fitness advice from the foundation.

“In Salford there is a higher incidence of smoking than the national average,” Health Officer Danny Doherty said.

“With Stoptober coming about we’ve sought of come up with Stoptober Superhero to try and make it more of an event really.

“Pretty much everyone you speak to is aware of Stoptober, they’ve heard an advert on the radio or seen one on the TV adverts, and obviously there are flyers about it everywhere.

“People don’t have to be in connection with any other organisation they can just join Stoptober and make a quit attempt.

“What we’re doing to add to that is to give them social support and access to nicotine replacement therapy.”

Nationally, the campaign is highlighting the financial benefit to participants as last year £25million was saved during Stoptober in 2012 working out at £150 per person that normally would have been usually spent on cigarettes.

Support is available for those taking part in the challenge as participants can register to receive a free stop smoking kit and can download an app as well as receiving free motivational text messages and advice to help them to quit.

For more information and to sign up click here or call 0800 022 4332 to be put through to your local stop smoking service.

To become a Stoptober Superhero with Salford Red Devils Foundation or to refer a friend or family member or for any additional information, please contact SRDFoundation Health Officer Danny Doherty on danny.doherty@reds.co.uk.

Image courtesy of Eva Ekeblad via Flickr, with thanks.

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