Although smoking is becoming increasingly unfashionable here in the UK many people are inadvertently sparking up to the world’s biggest preventable killer.

Tobacco accounts for one fifth of all UK deaths, which equates to over 100,000 people in the UK alone.

Since the Government introduced the stop smoking campaign back in 2012 the percentage of successful quitters has risen from 13.6% to 20% making it the highest decrease in smoking over the past 4 years.

While we truly understanding that quitting is no easy feat, Stoptober boasts of the continuing support to those whom are willing to stub it out once and for all.

Studies show you are 5 times more likely to stop for good, if you can refrain from smoking for 28 days, making Stoptober the perfect time to try.

Over a quarter of all cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking. These include cancer of the Mouth, Nose, Lip, Throat, Lung, Bladder, Kidney, Liver, Stomach and cervix. Other diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease are also related to smoking.

The risks of smoking do not only affect the smoker but also the people around them. Passive smoking (SHS) is known to increase the risk of respiratory illnesses in children including such diseases as heart disease and lung cancer.

Studies show that after one year smoke-free the risk of suffering a heart attack falls to half that of a smoker and after 15 years the risk falls to almost the same of someone that has never smoked before.

Other benefits to quitting include clear skin, a higher immunity, a boost in blood circulation and an increase in lung capacity which in turn helps with the ability to exercise and lose weight.

It seems the benefits for quitting far surpass the risks of remaining a smoker, so why is it that people still smoke?  The best and most forthright reason from the non-quitters is the worry and stress of taking the plunge. Many smokers light up to deal with a stressful situation, and what could be more stressful than the thought of taking the cigarettes away. A never ending circle of stress and disappointment.

In fact studies show quitting smoking lowers levels of stress. Unfortunately many people confuse stress with nicotine withdrawal. It is when we break this train of thought that we can make the first step to becoming a non-smoker.

Stoptober, offers massive support. With over 200,000 smokers signing up each year, using different methods to achieve a healthier lifestyle, save money and create a better environment for everyone. It would seem foolish not to take the plunge and quit for good!

The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking. There is more help and support available now than ever before. The introduction of standardised packs removes the glamorous branding and brings health warnings to the fore and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now regulated to assure their safety and quality. 

Dr Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer