General, Keeping families healthy

Smokers urged to quit during Stoptober

A Surrey dad celebrating his first smoke-free year is urging others to quit cigarettes as part of the Stoptober campaign.

Father-of-one Kevin Hayes finally kicked the habit after several failed attempts and is reaping the health and financial benefits.

Now the 54-year-old is calling on other smokers to follow suit during the 28-day challenge next month.

The Heathrow-based aircraft handler said: “I really didn’t think it would work at first but with the help I got, I found it much easier than expected. As new parents, my partner and I find the £70 I save each week has been really handy to spend on our baby.”

He went on to explain about the health benefits: “I feel great now – my blood pressure is down and my GP says she will reduce my medication for this soon if it stays down. Staying away from cigarettes is the main reason I feel so much better in myself.

“Choosing to go smoke-free is certainly one of the best decisions I’ve made. I really recommend smokers give it all they’ve got.”

During Stoptober 2012, 160,000 people successfully quit smoking. Residents in Surrey can sign up to join fellow smokers to kick the habit in October. All they have to do is call the Stop Smoking Service on 0845 602 3608. People who give up for 28 days are five times more likely stay smoke free.

Free support is available for people who stub out cigarettes. They can sign up for daily motivational texts, download a smartphone app, receive a weekly phone call from a professional or go to a clinic.

Michael Gosling, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Health and Wellbeing Board said: “Smoking remains the biggest killer in the UK with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking related illness. Someone who quits smoking for Stoptober, and doesn’t smoke again, could gain an extra seven days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life.”

Visit  www.surreycc.gov.uk/stoptober or ring 0845 602 3608 to find out how to sign up to Stoptober and see how the Surrey Stop Smoking Service can help you.

Notes to editors

Research provided by ASH* shows that in Surrey alone, the nicotine habit of over 140,000 people is estimated to cost more than £214 million a year, including:

•        More than £45 million for the NHS
•        More than £42 million for sick days
•        Almost £49 million for work breaks
•        Nearly 6 million to clean up litter

Go to http://ash.org.uk/localtoolkit/ for details.
Smoking remains a major preventable cause of premature death with over 80,000 people losing their lives in England each year as a result of the habit.

For further information please contact Will East on 0208 541 7739 or william.east@surreycc.gov.uk

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