Medical Specialists® Stoptober Smoking Survey gives Shocking Results
5th October 2016
StoptoberOctober may be more commonly known as the month of Halloween, but here is something even scarier: Half of all regular smokers will die as a result of their habit. Last year alone around 96,000 people died from smoking-related diseases. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In more recent times, October has also been acknowledged for being the month of the 28-day long Government-backed Stoptober campaign, where millions of smokers around the country attempt to ditch the cigarettes and reap from the vast abundance of health and financial benefits. A 4 week duration was chosen by Public Health England for the Stoptober challenge as past research has shown those who manage to abstain from smoking for 28 days are then 5 times more likely to quit for good. It is argued that for every 28 days a smoker abstains for, they could add an extra week onto their lifespan. To mark the beginning of Stoptober, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy recently conducted a survey of 2,150 current smokers, and made some rather alarming discoveries in the process. We found that 81% of respondents (1741 people) actually smoked their first cigarette under the legal smoking age of 16. Of these 1741 people, 1270 (73%) said they regretted ever starting to smoke and would stop if they could. Furthermore, most people (1397 people to be exact - 65%) who completed the survey, spent on average £30 to £40 per week on cigarettes and 1483 (69%) admitted to smoking more than 100 cigarettes each and every week. It seems nearly all of people who smoke actually want to quit though, with 1849 people (86%) saying they had previously attempted to give up smoking. In addition, 1268 people (59%) had tried to quit 5 times or more in the past. It seems obvious there is a widespread desire to quit, but for whatever reasons, smokers are struggling to completely stop for good. Maybe it is a lack of willpower, or peer pressure from other smokers. Not only that, it is worrying that so many people are going through over 100 cigarettes per week. This is a shocking statistic that needs to come down to as close to zero as possible. There is a continuing decline in smoking rates, but the fact remains that there are still about 9.6 million people who smoke in the UK. An estimated 20% of adult men are smokers, with the largest smoking group being men between the ages of 25 and 34. Clearly, Public Health England have much to do in order to make the country a tobacco-free one by their target of 2025. During Stoptober 2015, an incredible 2.5 million smokers took part in the campaign, but only around 500,000 people (20%) managed to complete the 28 days. Therefore, as well as providing smoking cessation treatment Champix to suitable patients, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy would like to remind people about the huge power that social networking has in any effort to stop smoking. There are forums and social media groups online where you can go and share the experience with others who are in exactly the same boat. Basically, you are not alone and can enjoy sharing the smoke-free experience with so many other like-minded people. Moreover, a person's chances of successfully quitting can be dramatically boosted if their partner, family member, co-worker or close friend quits too. Therefore, if you are thinking of stopping smoking for Stoptober, why not share this positive news with everybody around you. You could even provide the motivation for somebody else to quit too. In addition to Champix, another great help this Stoptober is using the free NHS Stop Smoking Service, which can give you a 4 times bigger chance of quitting. You can find out about your local Stop Smoking Service by clicking on this link. The NHS Stop Smoking Service is led by trained advisers. These could be pharmacists, specialist nurses or community workers, offering one-to-one support, group support and can also provide information about medications such as Champix, that are used to help you stop smoking. They also provide follow-up and ongoing support throughout the course, which is normally around 12 weeks.