Residents who smoke can improve their health and wellbeing and increase their life expectancy by taking part in Stoptober, the national quit campaign throughout October.
The pandemic has seen an increase in the number of smokers in Croydon, with prevalence among adults reaching 12.4% (36,269 people) – a rise from 11.4% in 2018. More people took up the habit due to lockdown boredom or because they felt more anxious.
The Stoptober campaign encourages people to seek support to quit, for the best chances of success, by using a combination of digital and online tools, phone consultations and local services, like Live Well Croydon, the council’s healthy lifestyle service for residents.
Croydon resident Philip Cole, who got help to quit this year from Live Well advisor Tami, said: “I decided to quit after a nasty health scare. I was in hospital and they told me about your service. Tami, my advisor was excellent. She was respectful and supported me with regular appointments to keep motivated. I also chose an inhalator to help me quit, it kept me occupied in the early days and helped with my cravings. It was very challenging at times, but I did it! I had my last cigarette in June after 50 years of smoking. I’m so grateful. Thank you very much.”
Stoptober reminds smokers that quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health, as smoking is the leading cause of premature death. Within a few hours of stopping, you will feel the benefits like breathing more easily, and in the longer-term reduce your risk of ill health and save money. GPs and pharmacists can also give quitting advice and tips.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health, said: “Covid-19 has impacted us all in different ways. Many smokers are now concerned that the easing of restrictions could make them want to smoke more as they see friends and socialise. This year’s Stoptober mass quit attempt is more important than ever. It’s never too late to quit smoking and you will notice immediate improvements to your health when you stop. Smoking damages the lungs and airways, making it harder to breathe. Each cigarette fills our lungs with toxins which harm the immune system and leave us more vulnerable to infections. If you can make it to 28 days smoke-free, you are five times more likely to quit for good.”
Stopping smoking also boosts your mental health and wellbeing. After the short-term withdrawal stage of quitting, smokers experience reduced anxiety, depression and stress and increased positive mood compared with people who continue to smoke.
You can find a combination of quit-smoking tools and support to quit this October by searching Stoptober online for more information and visiting the Better Health website.