Stoptober roadshow comes to Birmingham

By on 16/09/2015 in Cllr Hamilton, News

Comedic dance entertainment act and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Faces of Disco will star in the nationwide Stoptober roadshow coming to Victoria Square in Birmingham on Wednesday 23 September from 11am to 5pm, to mark the return of the nation’s biggest mass quit smoking attempt.

Stoptober, Public Health England’s 28 day stop smoking event, is back on 1 October following its success last year in helping over 260,000 people in their quit attempt. Evidence shows that if a smoker can go 28 days without a cigarette, they are five times more likely to stay permanently smokefree.

Smoking prevalence in the West Midlands currently stands at 17.8%, with almost one in five adults in Birmingham (19.3%) currently smoking. So the Stoptober roadshow is coming to the region to encourage smokers to sign up for the month long campaign and give up for good. The Stoptober roadshow 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. Their newly created Stoptober routines and high energy dance acts aim to provide encouragement and motivation to people wishing to taking part this year.

Birmingham City Council Cabinet member for Health and Social Care, Councillor Paulette Hamilton, said: “Stoptober has been a big success in recent years and over 4,000 Brummies took the Stoptober challenge last year. That was a fantastic response and we’re really hoping for a similar response this year.

“The roadshow is a fun way to launch a serious and very worthwhile campaign. Lots of help is available throughout the year and, if you decide to stop smoking in Stoptober, you’ll be one of thousands of people across Birmingham taking this challenge.”

Nigel Smith tobacco lead for PHE West Midlands Health and Wellbeing team, said: “Nearly eight 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.”

Liam Collins of Faces of Disco, who is also a former GB international athlete and bobsledder as well as six times European Masters hurdles champion, says: “I used to be a smoker, but stopped after I realized the damage it was doing to my health. As an athlete, I am passionate about healthy living, but as an ex-smoker I know it can be a struggle to quit, which is why I am supporting Stoptober this year. With Stoptober, individuals can get lots of support and free advice throughout their quitting journey, which can help smokers ditch the habit for good. Through our entertaining and humorous street dance, we want to motivate smokers to take part in this year’s mass quitting event, and I am looking forward to helping as many people in the West Midlands sign up to Stoptober this year.”

As well as being able to sign up to Stoptober, quitters will receive information, expert advice and support from local stop smoking services present at the roadshow. In addition, there will also be life-size health and wealth wheels, where smokers can track the benefits giving up smoking has on their health and bank balances.

This year, Stoptober will also be providing quitters with a personal touch from some of the nation’s leading comedians – Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Shappi Khorsandi and Al Murray (The Pub Landlord). The comedians are all supporting the campaign due to their personal experiences with smoking and will be sending messages of support and encouragement straight to quitters’ phones and emails throughout October.

There will also be lots of tips, jokes and distractions available on Stoptober’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with support from the thousands of people quitting together.

The 28 day campaign starts on Tuesday 1 October. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking campaign of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online or visit

Notes to Editors

Region Approximate number Stoptober 2014 sign ups % Stoptober 2014 sign ups* Current smoking prevalence (2013)** Previous smoking prevalence (2012)** Fall in smoking prevalence in 2013**
East Midlands 19,500 7.8 19.1% 19.9% - 0.8%
East of England 23,500 9.4 17.5% 18.7% - 1.2%
London 29,500 11.8 17.3% 18% - 0.7%
North East 13,250 5.3 22.3% 22.1% + 0.2%
North West 32,000 12.8 20.1% 21.6% - 1.5%
South East 36,000 14.4 17.2% 18% - 0.8%
South West 21,000 8.4 17.3% 18.5% - 1.2%
West Midlands 23,000 9.2 17.8% 18.9% - 1.1%
Yorkshire & the Humber 21,000 8.4 20.3% 22.7% - 2.4%
  1. Regional breakdown of Stoptober sign ups and ONS smoking prevalence data:

*Latest estimates based on sign up data

Remaining 12% is made up of:

– Workplace quits (16,400)

– Sign ups from Wales and where regional information is not available (16,150)

**Office for National Statistics, Integrated Household Survey, released Oct 2014

  1. Stoptober 2014 sign ups


Upper tier local authority Addressed sign ups Estimated digital sign ups Estimated total sign ups
Birmingham 2,299 1,857 4,156
Wolverhampton 567 458 1,025
Walsall 604 488 1,092
Sandwell 706 570 1,276
Dudley 684 552 1,236
Solihull 438 354 792
Coventry 836 675 1,511
Warwickshire 1,195 965 2,160
Worcestershire 1,191 962 2,153
Herefordshire 267 216 483
Shropshire 542 438 980
Telford & Wrekin 429 346 775
Stoke-on-Trent 661 534 1,195
Staffordshire 1,631 1,317 2,948
West Midlands 11,838 9,758 21,596
England 124,892 102,406 227,298

  1. West Midlands regional breakdown of smoking prevalence in adults (ONS data**)


Upper tier local authority % Smoking prevalence in adults 2013 % Smoking prevalence in adults in routine & manual occupations Successful quitters at 4 weeks per 100,000 population
Birmingham 19.3 28.1 5,125
Wolverhampton 22.0 29.7 2,592
Walsall 20.5 26.4 3,667
Sandwell 22.8 32.1 3,884
Dudley 19.4 28.6 5,013
Solihull 13.0 22.7 4,768
Coventry 18.5 30.6 6,342
Warwickshire 14.5 22.2 3,541
Worcestershire 14.7 24.7 3,017
Herefordshire 17.3 27.0 1,718
Shropshire 17.9 28.2 3,325
Telford & Wrekin 21.0 28.2 4,449
Stoke-on-Trent 19.4 26.6 4,487
Staffordshire 15.8 22.1 4,357
West Midlands 17.8 26.4 4,149
England 18.4 28.6 3,524

For smoking prevalence figures visit:

  1. For cost of smoking by area visit:
  2. *Figure of nearly 8 million smokers comes from Health and Social Care Information Centre, Statistics on Smoking in England 2015

  1. Benefits of stopping smoking

Stopping smoking can significantly improve your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer term:

  • after 20 minutes – blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal
  • after 8 hours – nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal
  • after 48 hours – carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved
  • after 72 hours – breathing becomes easier; bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase
  • after 2 to 12 weeks – your circulation improves
  • after 3 to 9 months – coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%
  • after 5 years – risk of heart attacks falls to about half compared with a person who is still smoking
  • after 10 years – risk of lung cancer falls to about half compared with a person who is still smoking
  • after 10 years – risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker; risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked

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