The 2020 Better Health - Stoptober Campaign is underway and this year there is a call for smokers to put their lungs first and breathe easier ahead of flu season.
Has lockdown contributed to the levels of smoking?
While the official figures show smoking rates in Kent and Medway remain low - Kent 13.7%, Medway 14.1%, the nationwide Better Health - Stoptober campaign is calling on smokers in England to join the one million smokers who have quit since the coronavirus lockdown according to data by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
This year, ASH has calculated that in South East, 136,000 people stopped smoking during the coronavirus lockdown and there were more than 51,000 fewer smokers in the South East between 2018 and 2019, a 0.7% decrease in smoking prevalence.
According to ASH, the total annual cost of smoking to the NHS in Kent and Medway is £83.3 million.
Smoking damages the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to infections, such as flu. Smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and experiencing more severe symptoms. Stopping smoking brings immediate benefits to health, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease.
Terry Blair-Stevens, Public Health Consultant in Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England South East, said:
“While the pandemic has meant this year has been challenging and stressful for many, Stoptober remains an ideal time for smokers to try and quit – regardless of how many times they may have tried in the past.
“Now more than ever before there are a host of quit smoking aids and free support services available. I would encourage anyone thinking of quitting to visit the Stoptober website, make a plan and commit to quit with Stoptober. Evidence shows you are more likely to quit with support from a local stop smoking service than if you try to go it alone.
“Quitting really is the best thing a smoker can do for their health.”
Why not give quitting a go?
UK health organisations including ASH, British Lung Foundation, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK are joining the call for smokers in England to give quitting a go this Stoptober.
Stoptober provides the information and support people need to quit smoking for 28 days, based on research that if a smoker can make it to 28 days smoke-free, they are five times more likely to quit for good.
Lucy Martin, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation said:
“Giving up smoking is the single best thing that you can do for your health – it is a major risk factor for serious illnesses such as heart attack and stroke. It is never too late to stop, and we would urge anyone who smokes to consider taking advantage of the wealth of support available for giving up – it could ultimately save your life.”
This year, Stoptober is offering a range of free support tools for those looking to quit. The tools include the Stoptober app and a Personal Quit Plan that helps people find a combination of stop smoking support that’s right for them.
The health benefits to consider
Stopping smoking can significantly improve your 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: Pulse rate starts to return to normal
- After 8 hours: Oxygen levels are recovering and harmful carbon monoxide in the blood is reduced by half
- After 48 hours: The body has flushed out all carbon monoxide, lungs start to clear out mucus and ability to taste and smell is improved
- After 72 hours: Bronchial tubes begin to relax, breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase
- After 2-12 weeks: Blood is pumping to the heart and muscles better because circulation has improved
- After 3-9 months: Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%
- After 1 year: Risk of heart attack has halved compared to a smoker. And research suggests that people who have quit for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke
- After 10 years: Risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker
- After 15 years: Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoke
We can help you this Stoptober
Did you know, you can buy from a range of nicotine replacement products at the Pharmacy located within our hospital?
Andrew Turton, Pharmacy Manager said: “We keep a range of patches and lozenges and as a registered Pharmacy, members of the public can come in and buy from us, regardless of whether or not they are having treatment at the hospital.”
Find out more about our in-house facilities or speak to the Pharmacy team during your visit at our hospital.
Published on 05 October 2020