"Quite smoking and breath" - image show plants in the shape of lungs

Stoptober is back for 2020 and Greater Manchester smokers are being encouraged to give quitting a go to put their lungs first, strengthen their immune system and breathe easier ahead of flu season.

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is backing Public Health England’s 28-day Stoptober challenge with free quit support available for smokers including its Smoke Free app and free quit kits.

The free kits are available to motivate and encourage people from Greater Manchester to quit successfully. They include a handy guide to quitting, a sample pack of nicotine replacement, a calendar to track milestones, plus £10 off an e-cigarette starter kit.

The nation’s biggest quit attempt starts on 1 October and is based on evidence that shows after 28 days smokefree, smokers are five times more likely to quit for good. Now in its ninth year, Stoptober has supported almost two million people to stop smoking.

It comes in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has spurred more than 100,000 people in the North West to quit smoking, according to analysis of the YouGov Covid-19 tracker by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and University College London (UCL).

In Greater Manchester, smoking prevalence among adults has fallen to an all time low, with around one in six adults (16%) claiming to be smokers – with six in 10 people who smoke saying that they want to quit.

Andrea Crossfield, ‘Making Smoking History’ lead at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

“Across Greater Manchester record numbers of people are quitting smoking successfully and Stoptober is an ideal time for even more people to give it a go.

“With the country experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases and winter flu season round the corner, there has never been a more important time to put your health first and quit. We know that this year has been tough for many people – but it has also given people a wake-up call to quit smoking for their families and their mental and physical health.

“We have a package of support available to help Greater Manchester residents stop smoking, including our free quit kits and app, which will keep people motivated, monitor health improvements and track progress. The app has been scientifically proven to double chances of success and includes daily missions, a quit coach and a 24/7 live chat feature with a stop smoking advisor.”

Dr Matt Evison, a lung specialist at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I see the harm from smoking daily and the devastation it causes patients and their families. It damages every organ in the body and causes lung disease, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer.

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a worrying time for everyone. For smokers who contract the virus, the symptoms may be more severe because of the damage tobacco does to the lungs and immune system.

“I always say to my patients – it is never too late to quit smoking and you will start to see the benefits straight away. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health, but beating an addiction isn’t easy and you don’t have to do it on your own. That’s why local stop smoking services, GPs, pharmacies and tools like the app are so important.”

As well as the single best thing for health, research shows that quitting can save a 10-a-day smoker around £165 a month, as well as improving mood and relieving stress, anxiety and depression.

There are more ways to quit than ever before:

  • Get support from your local stop smoking service where you can see a friendly, trained adviser.
  • Nicotine replacement products and stop smoking medicines are available from shops, pharmacies and on prescription to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. Get some advice to help use it.
  • Switching to an e-cigarette has helped many smokers stop. In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality and PHE research has found them to be 95% less harmful than tobacco.

Visit YouCanGM.org to find details of stop smoking services and support across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044.

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