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ASH Cymru kickstarts autumn Stop Smoking Campaign

A stop smoking campaign has been launched to encourage smokers to try quitting in Wales. The Stopioctober campaign has been spearheaded by the tobacco control organisation ASH Cymru, and has been created to mirror similar health drives in England.

Each year the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) launches Stoptober, a campaign which encourages thousands of smokers to try quitting in October. The campaign has been running in England since 2012, and has garnered considerable recognition from countries across the UK. In light of this, ASH Cymru have developed a similar drive to signpost stop smoking support available in Wales.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health in Wales, and is estimated to take the lives of over 5,000 people each year. The new campaign seeks to encourage Welsh smokers to take action this October, and receive the benefits of becoming smoke-free.

Through a nation-wide push the campaign voices three key messages. These messages include:

  • You are 5 times more likely to quit smoking for good if you make it to at least 28 days smoke-free.
  • Quitting can be challenging, bit it is not impossible: success can significantly increase with specialist support.
  • Join countless UK smokers in becoming smoke-free this October, by taking the 28 day quit challenge.

To compliment the campaign, ASH Cymru are sign-posting Welsh smokers to the national stop smoking service, ‘Help Me Quit’. The free service offers a range of specialist support, advice, and medication. Research has shown that with specialist support the odds of quitting smoking increases more than threefold.

The health benefits of stopping smoking are immediate, as in as little as 8 hours a smoker’s carbon monoxide levels can halve. After 24 hours of quitting, carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body and lungs begin to clear mucus and smoking debris. Within just a year of quitting, the risk of a heart attack is halved compared to the risk of a current smoker. Furthermore, after ten years the risk of developing lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.

Suzanne Cass, CEO of ASH Cymru, marked the importance of Welsh health campaign’s that support Welsh smokers. She said:

“Stopioctober is a steadfast nod to the successful Stoptober campaign run by our English neighbours, which is instantly recognisable across the UK’.

‘Our campaign mirrors the spirit of Stoptober, but highlights the brilliant help and support available here in Wales.

‘My advice to all Welsh smokers is this: you are not alone, and this month is a brilliant incentive to join others across the UK in becoming smoke-free’.

Beyond October, the campaign encourages smokers to continue their quit journey past the 28 day mark and quit for good.

The campaign mirrors wider government efforts to reduce the harms of smoking in Wales . This year, the Welsh Government unveiled plans to achieve a smoke-free Wales by 2030, which will mean lowering the current smoking rate from 13% to 5% by the end of the decade.

If you are interested in stopping smoking this October, free advice and support can be easily accessed through the website: helpmequit.wales. Furthermore, the service can be accessed via freephone on: 0800 085 2219.