Stoptober is back in 2023, calling on smokers in North Yorkshire to join the 2.5 million others in England who have made a quit attempt with the campaign since it first launched. Over 5 million adults in England still smoke, and it remains the biggest behavioural cause of preventable illness and death, with 64,000 deaths a year.

This year’s Stoptober mass quit attempt is as important as ever, with quitting remaining one of the best things a smoker can do for their health. That’s why this year’s Stoptober campaign is encouraging smokers to join the thousands of others who are committing to quitting for the month of October – quit smoking for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to quit for good. When you stop smoking good things start to happen – quitting will allow you to start moving better, breathe more easily and give you more money to spend.

With the above in mind, this final point is important as it remains that prevention is better than cure. However, it is never too late to quit and stopping smoking at any age gives extra years of life and makes you feel healthier very quickly.  After just 48 hours your senses of taste and smell are improving.  In addition, smokers found some of the top benefits they saw within 2 weeks of quitting included having more energy (45%), feeling healthier (42%) and breathing better (42%).  The long-term benefits of stopping smoking are listed below.

Within North Yorkshire, Living Well Smokefree has provided advice and support to those individuals wishing to make a change to their smoking habits since April 2019.  Since then, they have had nearly 8000 referrals from partners across the health system, with over one third of all referrals into the service having gone on to quit smoking. Support is given by dedicated Stop Smoking advisors in the form of one-to-one support sessions, either remotely or face to face in the local community.

Alyss Jones, who smoked 20 a day for 14 years, will tell you, “My smoking advisor was called Emily and, if you were to ask her, she would tell you that I am 100% the reason why I have stopped smoking, but the truth is I couldn’t have done it without her support and the support of this program”. “Once you have started the program you get the chance to speak to your smoking advisor every week or every other week, which ever you prefer. I cannot tell you how much this helped me to quit, being able to voice my concerns and ask questions to someone who is fully trained to help you is amazing.”  Alyss has now been smokefree for 2 years!

Living Well Smokefree is available to anyone who lives, works or is registered with a GP within North Yorkshire and they can be contacted on 01609 797272 or at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/healthy-living/stopping-smoking

In summary, the key messages associated with Stoptober 2023 are:

  • When you stop smoking good things start to happen. There are many benefits to quitting such as having more energy, feeling healthier, breathing better and having extra money in your pocket.
  • Living Well Smokefree and Stoptober provides the information and support people need to quit smoking for 28 days, based on evidence showing that if you can make it to 28 days smoke free, you’re five times more likely to quit for good.
  • New research from a Censuswide survey of ex-smokers finds that nearly all (95%) saw positive changes in their life soon after quitting. The immediate physical benefits, listed below.

The Physical benefits to Stopping smoking:

  • After 20 minutes: Pulse rate starts to return to normal
  • After 8 hours: Oxygen levels are recovering and harmful carbon monoxide in the blood is reduced by half
  • After 48 hours: The body has flushed out all carbon monoxide, lungs start to clear out mucus and ability to taste and smell is improved
  • After 72 hours: Bronchial tubes begin to relax, breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase
  • After 2-12 weeks: Blood is pumping to the heart and muscles better because circulation has improved
  • After 3-9 months: Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%
  • After 1 year: Risk of heart attack has halved compared to a smoker. And research suggests that people who have quit for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke
  • After 10 years: Risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
  • After 15 years: Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked
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