Thousands of people across the country have begun Stoptober – the mass 28-day stop smoking challenge – as the latest data shows the incidence of lung cancer continues to increase among women, while dropping for men.
More than eight million people in England smoke, with smoking remaining the nation’s biggest killer. Half of all long-term smokers die prematurely from a smoking-related disease. The research highlights an increasing focus on the impact that smoking is having on the health of women and young girls in the UK.
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: "It is worrying to see the rising number of women living with and dying from lung cancer.
"One in two long-term smokers dies as a result of smoking. This is the single biggest cause of premature death, taking more than 100,000 lives in the UK and costing the NHS up to £2.7bn each year.
"Taking part in the challenge is a first step to a longer and healthier life - so have a go, by stopping with Stoptober."
Dr Lola Abudu, consultant in public health for Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said: “We are seeing worrying levels of smoking among women - which is clearly having an impact on their health - and reported cases of lung cancer. Smoking is one of the main causes of lung cancer, and survival rates are very poor. Fewer than a third (30 per cent) of people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive the first year, and only eight per cent will still be alive five years later.
“Incidence rates of lung cancer vary considerably across the West Midlands. In Staffordshire alone we see incredible differences, with people in the Stoke-on-Trent City Council area experiencing the highest rate, at 61 people with cancer registrations per 100,000 of population, while some of the lowest rates of cancer are found in the area covered by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, with 28.9 cancer registrations per 100,000 of population.
“If smokers can stop for 28-days they are five times more likely to be able to remain smoke free for good. We would encourage all smokers to join the thousands taking part and, by doing so, help to dramatically improve their long and short-term health.”
To mark the start of Stoptober, 28 individually designed 'Stop’ disks are appearing across the country. Each Stoptober disk has been inspired by the motivations of different quitters and a number of celebrity supporters. Standing up to three meters high, the disks will be present throughout the 28-days of Stoptober and act as inspiration and motivation for people trying to stop smoking.
A whole team of celebrities including Melanie C, Iwan Thomas, Jenny Frost, Anthony Costa and many more are lending their support to people taking part in Stoptober, along with the Army and big name football clubs such as Everton and Newcastle United.
It isn't too late to join in and receive a range of free support. This includes the 28-day Stoptober App and text support that provide daily updates and quitting advice, detailed tools and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people all quitting together.
For more information and to order your free resources search Stoptober online or visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober and begin your own 28-day smoke-free challenge.