In the West Midlands region 23,579 smokers joined a quarter of a million people across the nation in turning their back on cigarettes during the mass 28-day stop smoking challenge, Stoptober.
Research shows that stopping smoking for 28 days can extend your life by up to one week if you remain smoke free. The new ex-smokers across the West Midlands are, therefore, celebrating their first steps towards a healthier, smoke free life and, if they succeed in quitting for good, they could collectively add as much as 453 years of life to the population.
And it’s not just the health benefits that have been reaped:
• The average smoker has 13 cigarettes a day, equating to 364 cigarettes every four weeks. Stoptober would have saved them £141 each over four weeks and, if they remain smoke free, they could save £423 by Christmas - and £1,696 over a year. Collectively, if all Stoptober participants in the West Midlands quit for the 28 days during October they would have saved more than £3,324,639
• With the average cigarette taking approximately four minutes to smoke, this Stoptober could have saved the average smoker more than 24 hours by not smoking and, cumulatively, the nation’s Stoptober participants would have gained more than 680 years in spare time.
Backed by a huge number of supporters - including celebrities, charities, sports clubs and stop smoking services - Stoptober has helped thousands of people try to stay free from cigarettes through support packs, a 28-day app, social media activities and tips and advice from a host of celebrity well-wishers.
Actress and singer Kelsey-Beth Crossley took on the 28-day stop smoking challenge to improve her health and protect her singing voice.
Commenting on her quit attempt, Kelsey-Beth said: "I did find the 28 days a real challenge – especially to begin with – but knowing so many other people were going through the same thing was really motivating and encouraging. Well done to everyone who has managed to get through 28 days smoke free – long may it continue and good luck for the future.”
Dr Lola Abudu, consultant in public health for PHE West Midlands, said: “Stopping smoking can lead to huge improvements in short and long-term health, so well done to the thousands of people across the West Midlands who took part in the 28-day quit smoking challenge.
“If you didn’t manage to stop smoking for the full month, don’t lose heart and do try again. There are many NHS stop smoking support services out there to help you give up.”
Research shows that those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke free. Last year saw more than 160,000 people successfully complete the four-week challenge.
It is not too late to start your own 28-day challenge – for more information and to download the Stoptober app visit www.stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk.