Smokers in Sussex are being urged to sign up to Stoptober to increase their chances of quitting.
Public Health England (PHE) has revealed 17.2 per cent of people in the south east are smokers but are more likely to quite if their partners and friends stop smoking, too. Stoptober, a 28-day campaign run by Public Health England in October, is being supported by comedians who will send quitters supportive messages as the days go on.
A spokesman for PHE said: “Research shows that smokers are two thirds – 67 per cent – more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend – 36 per cent – or someone they work with – 34 per cent — stops.
“The data also shows that individuals are 61 per cent more likely to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes – showing the powerful influence that people’s social networks have on their own smoking behaviour.
“To stand an even better chance of quitting, smokers across the south east are encouraged to sign up with their friends, family and colleagues, as evidence reveals that this type of social quitting can dramatically improve people’s chances of successfully stopping.”
Celebrities Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert and Al Murray are backing the campaign and their messages and emails of encouragement will be sent straight to quitters throughout October.
Last year, 36,000 people in the south east signed up to Stoptober, with more than half making it to 28 days without smoking.
This year Public Health England is expecting the campaign will reach one million people.
Angela Baker, deputy director of health and wellbeing for Public Health England south east, said: “Even though the south east has a low prevalence of smoking, some areas within our region have higher than national average rates.
“Stopping smoking is the most effective thing you can do to improve your health and we all want to be that bit healthier.
“Stopping smoking is a really difficult thing to do, but with support from friends, colleagues and the NHS, achieving your goal is much easier.”
To sign up for Stoptober this year, log on to the website www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober