Birmingham Signs Up To ‘Stoptober’

By on 10/09/2012 in Cllr Bedser, News
Cllr Steve Bedser

Cllr Steve Bedser

Free Radio presenters Foxy & Giuliano have signed up to support the Department of Health's new stop smoking initiative which is aimed at getting smokers to quit for the month of October.

This is the first ever mass participation event launched by the Department of Health on Monday, 10th September.

Nicola Benge, Director of Public Health for Birmingham explains the rationale behind the scheme : “We know if you can stop smoking or 28 days then you are five times more likely to stay smokefree, and Stoptober leads smokers through a detailed step-by-step programme to help them achieve this goal. As well as the financial benefits of stopping smoking, those undertaking the 28 day programme will experience physical improvements including a better sense of smell and taste and more energy.”

Many local celebrities, councils and local stop smoking services are putting their weight behind the campaign in a bid to get people to quit. The new campaign is supported by a daily messaging service, inspiration from celebrity mentors and expert advice via :

  • Stoptober app (available via a Smartphone)
  • Motivational text messages
  • Facebook page

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, said: “As a former smoker myself, I fully understand the vice-like grip this habit has on people. That’s why initiatives like Stoptober are so important.

“Our Smoking Services in Birmingham have grown from strength to strength since they were launched in 2001, going from helping just 300 in the first year to over 10,000 in the last 12 months. We want to help people help themselves.”

Longer term, those who stop smoking reduce their risk of heart disease and lung cancer as well as protecting others from their secondhand smoke. Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease.

Stoptober kicks off on Monday 1 October and runs for 28 days. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, visit


Media enquiries: Anna Donaldson t: 07595 088316

Q: What is the campaign ?
Stoptober is a national stop smoking initiative spearheaded by the Department of Health, and launched on Monday 10th September.

Q: Why is Stoptober being launched?
Research has shown that if a smoker can stop smoking for 28 days, they are five times more likely to remain smokefree. This is the first national stop smoking campaign of this scale in the UK.

Q: What is the campaign trying to achieve?
The campaign aims to encourage as many smokers as possible in England to stop smoking for 28 days, to demonstrate how they can benefit from the health and wealth improvements in their lives after this time.

Q: How will it do this?
The harms of smoking are not something new and the media is saturated with facts and stats centred around these dangers. The Stoptober campaign will use a tailored programme of support that addresses the individual's motivation to stop smoking. Promotion of the campaign includes celebrity mentors, case studies of ex-smokers who have undertaken the 28 day stop smoking programme ahead of the October launch and a wealth of advice and support for those looking to stop smoking, to engage smokers and encourage them to take part in the programme.

Q; What is different about this campaign ?
This is the first time the Department of Health is calling for the nation's smokers to stop smoking at the one time. Stoptober is based on the gathering of data and research into the motivations, challenges and the realities of attempting to stop smoking, providing a tailored support programme for individuals.

Stoptober will be running for the month of October.

Q: Can people take part if they don't want to start on Monday 1 October ?
Yes. Smokers can join Stoptober at any time during the campaign period. People will be able to sign up for support until mid-November.

Q: What proof do you have that 28 day quit works long term ?
A paper by R West and J Stapleton entitled 'Clinical and Public Health significance of treatments to aid smoking cessation', shows that if smokers can stop for 28 days they are five times more likely to stop smoking for good.

Q: How will the app help ?
The app provides daily support for anyone who is joining in Stoptober. Users can set their own quit data, tell the app about their smoking habits and motivations for stopping and get free, personalised support to help keep them on track. It will even reward users for their success and help them manage their cravings.

Q: Have previous campaigns reduced the number of people smoking?
Smoking rates have not declined by much since 2007. Today, around 20% of adults in England smoke. Given how detrimental smoking is to health, the Government is committed to encouraging smokers to quit. Stoptober is just one of the things we are doing to support this.

Editor's notes

The Birmingham and Solihull NHS Cluster comprises four PCTs: Heart of Birmingham, South Birmingham, Birmingham East and North, and Solihull.

The cluster has been entrusted by each of the four PCTs to lead the local NHS, receiving over £2.3 billion per year to commission and provide health care for 1.2 million people across the city and borough. Our vision is to strengthen commissioning, improve quality and assure safety, tackle health inequalities and make best use of precious NHS resources.

While PCTs retain their statutory responsibilities, the cluster has appointed a single Chief Executive - Denise McLellan, who is the accountable officer for all four PCTs. Denise is supported by an Executive Team which comprises four directors, each of whom is leading on a specific area of business and transformation.

The NHS faces unprecedented challenges in the years ahead. People are living longer, but with greater health and social care needs. People's health prospects and expectations are improving, but through expensive drugs and technology that place an additional burden on our limited resources. Coming together in this way provides the best opportunity to tackle the challenges ahead and create a financially sustainable legacy for our clinical commissioning colleagues to whom we hand over the role of commissioning in 2013. We have set out how we will do this in our blueprint for health and care across Birmingham and Solihull - the System Plan.

Until then, we will be uniting with patients, clinicians and a wide range of diverse organisations across the region to help us get the best in care and quality of life for all.

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