Brum smokers urged to sign up to Stoptober

By on 03/09/2015 in News
  • Last year 4,156 Birmingham smokers signed-up to quit for Stoptober.
  • This year’s Stoptober campaign calls on smokers to sign up together as research shows they are 67% more likely to quit if their partner also stops smoking and 36% more likely to quit if a friend stops
  • 17.8% of the West Midlands region’s residents are smokers
  • By signing up to Stoptober quitters will get humorous supportive messages from some of the nation’s top comedians – Bill Bailey, Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rhod Gilbert
  • Combining online support from comedians with a smoker’s ‘real world’ social groups designed to help increase their chances of getting through 28 days smokefree

With data showing that 17.8% of the West Midlands region are smokers, Public Health England (PHE) is urging local residents and smokers from the area to sign up to Stoptober – the country’s 28 day mass quit attempt from PHE – to receive support and encouragement every step of the way from some of the nation’s top comedians.

And to stand an even better chance of quitting, West Midlands residents 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.

Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops. The data also shows that individuals are much more likely (61%) 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.

This is backed up by a study of smokers in Australia, Canada, the UK and the United States which shows that the fewer smoking friends someone has, the more likely they are to succeed in a quit attempt.

This year, Stoptober will be providing quitters with a personal touch from some of the nation’s leading comedians – Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi. Messages of support and encouragement will be sent straight to quitters’ phones and emails throughout October.

What’s more, on Wednesday 23 September the national Stoptober roadshow will come to the West Midlands, stopping at Victoria Square in Birmingham. The event, which will feature hilarious performances from dynamic entertainment troupe Faces of Disco, who shot to stardom in 2009 after reaching the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent, will be a great opportunity for quitters to meet with the Stoptober street team, to discuss the benefits of quitting and to sign up to Stoptober.

Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year with more than half making it to 28 days; this year, it is expected the campaign will welcome the millionth sign up. By stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

Nigel Smith tobacco lead for PHE West Midlands Health and Wellbeing team, said: “Nearly 8 million people in England smoke* and smoking is still the number one cause of premature death nationally, causing nearly 80,000 deaths a year. The most recent figures show that 17.8% of adults in the West Midlands region smoke, with more than a quarter (26.4%) of smokers in routine and manual occupations.

“Not only is there a cost to an individual’s health and pocket, but smoking costs society. With an estimated smoking population of 787,158 in the region, this comes at a cost of £1.4 billion in total – in costs to business from lost productivity due to illness and early deaths; costs to the NHS for smoking related health care; and cost to local authorities from removing smoking related waste.

“It can be very difficult to kick the habit, but smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit if their partner stops smoking, and around a third more likely when a close friend (36%) or colleague (34%) quits. You are more likely to stay smokefree with support from others – so we would encourage people in the same household or workplace to try to quit together to give each other support.

“Help is available throughout the year from local Stop Smoking Services, which can be found by visiting During Stoptober people can go online and search for ‘Stoptober’ to sign up to the 28 day challenge, where there are a range of support tools to choose from including email, text and an app. If someone stops smoking for 28 days, they’re five times more likely to stay smokefree for good; they’ll also experience physical and health benefits, including a better sense of taste and smell. There are also financial benefits; a 20-a-day smoker can save up to £250 a month by taking part in Stoptober. Last year an estimated 21,596 people in the West Midlands signed up to Stoptober, which is really encouraging, so let’s try and do even better this year.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, national Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England, said: “Stoptober will be providing people with more engaging and personalised support than ever. Along with receiving proven advice and support, participants this year will get encouragement every day from some of the best comedians in the country to help them reach 28 days smokefree.

“The benefits of stopping smoking are almost immediate: quitters will soon see reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. It is one of the best things a person can do to improve their health and reduce their chances of developing long-term conditions and dying prematurely. Sign up today and get ready to start your quitting journey with our support on 1 October.”

Rhod Gilbert who is supporting this year’s campaign says: “I smoked for about 25 years and probably spent 23 of those trying to quit, trying everything you can think of to kick the habit. I know first hand that it can be hard to find the motivation to quit, but Stoptober is the perfect time to give it a go. Not only will you be joining thousands of others taking part, you’ll also have exclusive support from myself, Bill Bailey, Shappi Khorsandi and the Pub Landlord, as well as access to lots of other help along the way.  My advice to those taking on Stoptober would be to take the 28 days one day at a time.”

By signing up to Stoptober, participants can choose from a range of free support tools including daily emails and text messages from the comedians throughout the  28 day quit attempt as well as a mobile phone app which includes lots more tips and advice – all of which have shown to increase the chances of staying smokefree. To sign up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit

Notes to Editors

All 2015 campaign images, TV adverts and online content can be downloaded by media at:

For more campaign assets, including case studies, contact:

In addition to the exclusive content and support, those registering for Stoptober will also be provided with information on a range of other options to support their quit attempt.  And for the first time this year the campaign is supportive of smokers wanting to quit using an e-cigarette. For full range of options:

There will be 10 different roadshows taking place over a two week period. These will take place on the following dates and in the following locations:

·       Wed 16 Sept                Newcastle

·       Thurs 17 Sept              Hull

·       Fri 18 Sept                   Preston

·       Sat 19 Sept                 Manchester

·       Wed 23 Sept              Birmingham

·       Thurs 24 Sept              Nottingham

·       Fri 25 Sept                   Southend-on-Sea

·       Sat 26 Sept                 London – Croydon

·       Sun 27 Sept                Southampton

·       Tues 29 Sept               Plymouth

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