Stoptober: The 28 Day Challenge
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Stoptober: The 28 Day Challenge
Organised by the NHS, Stoptober challenges people to go smoke-free for 28 days - after which they're five times more likely to stop smoking for good. The benefits of quitting range from reduced risk of illnesses such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke, to improvements in sense of taste and smell.
In Newham, where Caritas Anchor House is based, around 22% of the population smokes, and the number of smoking related deaths in the borough are 13% higher than the England average.1
With this in mind, Caritas Anchor House staff and residents are being encouraged to take the Stoptober challenge and kick the habit this month. Nicholas, a resident, took part in Stoptober last year and became one of the 160,000 people who successfully quit smoking as a result.
“Stoptober gave me the push I needed,” said Nicholas, who had been a smoker for more than ten years. “I’d been thinking about quitting for a while, but had never quite managed it. Giving up was hard at first, but knowing that there were other people going through the same thing - maybe trying different ways, but all looking to quit - was a massive help.
“Although the first few weeks were the most difficult to resist the urge to reach for a cigarette, once I got through the first 28 days, I felt a real sense of freedom and I haven’t smoked since.”
Support from his Lifestyle Architect was invaluable to Nicholas, and he’s noticed a wide range of benefits since giving up.
"I’m able to taste and smell better – all my senses seem heightened. I can also exercise much longer now, as I’m part of the running group, and I regularly cycle. I’m not living on much money, so it’s great that I’m now saving £80 a month too!”
You can register to be part of Stoptober here, and if you live in Newham, you can visit the local stop smoking service to get free and informal advice on how to quit. Their one to one service includes:
- personalised advice and support on how to stop smoking
- individually tailored treatment plan
- access to treatments - Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) like patches, gum, lozenges e.t.c. and Champix (varenicline)**
- regular carbon monoxide monitoring
- up to 12 weeks support
**Treatments are free if entitled to free prescriptions, otherwise a prescription charge applies.
Our top five tips to quit smoking
- Think positive - the first step is believing in yourself. Tell yourself that you can do it, and half the battle is won.
- Make a plan - set a date to quit and stick to it. Then get rid of all your left over cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters to help remove temptation
- Ask for help - tell your friends, family and colleagues that you're quitting. The more people you have supporting you, the more likely you are to make it through
- Get support - sign up to Stoptober or contact your local NHS stop smoking service. There's plenty of free advice and support out there -make use of it! there is your local NHS stop smoking services and the NHS Smoking Helpline, available on 0300 123 1014 (open Monday to Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am-4pm).
- Keep at it – When you’re struggling, just remind yourself why you gave up. Make a list of your reasons to quit and read it when you need support.
1Source: Newham Health Profile 2012 (pdf)