October marks the start of Stoptober, an annual national campaign to help smokers kick the habit. The campaign runs throughout the month, because people are five times more likely to quit for good if they can make it to at least 28 days smoke free.
This year, the campaign focuses on the mental health benefits of quitting. Many people believe that smoking helps reduce anxiety and depression, but studies show that once people have got past the short-term withdrawal stage of quitting, they have reduced anxiety, depression and stress and increased positive mood compared with people who continue to smoke.
Despite smoking rates declining, there are over 5 million people in England who still smoke, and it remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death. In Somerset, more than 12% of people aged over 18 smoke, and 2110 people die each year as a result of smoking, and more than five thousand are admitted to hospital. The good news is that between 2022 and 2023; 1353 people committed to quit with Smokefree Somerset – 924 (68%) of them quit smoking for 28 days or more.
Stopping smoking brings multiple benefits to our health, some immediate and others that build over time. These include being able to breathe and move around more easily, reduced physical illnesses and improved mental health and well-being.
Somerset Council’s Public Health team is encouraging Somerset smokers to seek free support from opens in a new windowSmokefree Somerset – their stop smoking service.
Smokefree Somerset offers support from friendly, qualified Stop Smoking Practitioners. The practitioners can advise smokers on stop smoking medications and are on hand to encourage and enable smokers to quit the habit and stay smoke free.
The service is easy to access, someone needing support is required only to commit to being in touch with a Stop Smoking Practitioner just once a week during the 12-week treatment programme. Contact can be in person or over the telephone at a time that suits them, with appointments available right up to 8pm. There is also a free and confidential opens in a new windowMy Quit Route app.
Councillor Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset Council, commented: “We all know that smoking is very harmful to health, but quitting can feel like an impossible challenge – especially if you don’t have any support. You are far more likely to quit with support, which is why we offer a free stop smoking service in Somerset called Smokefree Somerset. It really does work – our Stop Smoking Practitioners have helped thousands of people across Somerset to successfully kick their habit over the years.
“I know lots of people have probably tried on their own to quit without success, and if that sounds like you, I’d say this: you have nothing to lose by giving the Smokefree Somerset service a go – it won’t cost you anything and could really change your life for the better. Other smokers are making Stoptober their time to quit, and you can too – you’ve got this!”
It is easy to sign up with Smokefree Somerset – to book an appointment, just call 01823 356222 or fill your details in online via the opens in a new windowSmoker Free Life Somerset website.
Support for those dealing with mental health challenges is readily available through organisations like Open Mental Health. To explore various support options, visit the opens in a new windowOpen Mental Health website.