A Harrogate talent acquisition manager has joined forces with celebrities Martin Kemp, Sinitta, Nick Hewer and James Jordan to encourage people to give up smoking by highlighting the positive impact quitting can have on your life.
Georgina Stockdale, 36, who gave up smoking two years ago, is urging Britain to make a quit attempt this October as Stoptober launches today.
Latest statistics show smoking costs the NHS £2.4 billion a year while causing at least 15 types of cancers, including lung cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia.
Despite smoking rates declining, there are nearly six million adults in England who still smoke.
According to estimates by Action on Smoking and Health, the annual costs of smoking to productivity are £13.2 billion and treating illnesses associated with smoking also costs the NHS £2.4 billion a year, with the wider cost to society in England being approximately £17 billion a year.
Smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death in England but people are five times more likely to quit for good if they can make it to at least 28 days smoke free.
Stockdale said: “I’d been smoking for about 20 years and I’d never thought about stopping before, but I’ve got two young nephews and it’s when they started recognising I was smoking.
“I was careful not to smoke in front of them, but I was going outside and they would always ask why I was going outside, and I would find myself making excuses to them or then they would say I didn’t smell very nice, it was just the association with smoking that they were starting to recognise.
“The biggest changes I’ve found since quitting smoking is probably how I feel, my level of fitness. I really like training in the gym, going hiking, country walks, and I just found that my stamina levels, my energy levels have massively increased.
“The great thing about Stoptober is that it’s a 28-step journey, just take each day as it comes and ultimately even if it feels like you won’t succeed, fear is probably the only thing that held me back.
“Don’t be afraid, your future self will more than likely thank you for it.”
To support smokers in their quitting journey this October, celebrities including 80s pop star Kemp, who has been personally impacted by smoking, and ex-smokers including The Apprentice’s Hewer, pop icon Sinitta and Strictly’s Jordan, plus seasoned experts, discuss their experience and provide words of encouragement for those embarking on their quit attempt.
80’s pop icon Sinitta said: “I am supporting Stoptober again this year because it’s such a great way to quit. Anyone looking to quit should use this month as their starting point. Giving up smoking is one of the best things I have ever done for my health, and I just want to encourage others that they can do the same.”
Former manager of Leicester Stop Smoking service Louise Ross said:
“Stoptober will give you all the tools and support you need to make a quit attempt this month. I want to assure people that there is support out there for people and that they are not alone. Seeing the thousands of others that are quitting at the same time will spur you on to keep going.”
Now in its 11th year, Stoptober has already helped 2.5 million smokers make a quit attempt since its launch.
For the remaining 6 million smokers in England, Stoptober see thousands of people making a mass quit attempt through the month of October with a range of free quitting tools available including: the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook online communities, daily emails and SMS, an online Personal Quit Plan, as well as advice on stop smoking aids, vaping to quit smoking and free expert support from local Stop Smoking Services.
Research shows that self-confidence is a major factor in successful attempts at quitting smoking. Stoptober is encouraging people to take simple steps to help build their confidence and get the support they need from family and friends, as well as professional help, to quit for the whole of October.
For free support to quit this October, search ‘Stoptober’ – Quit smoking – Better Heath – NHS (www.nhs.uk)