Smokers urged to quit in Stoptober
SMOKERS in Exeter, Mid and East Devon are being urged to give up the habit during October as part of a new national campaign.
Stoptober is the first ever mass quit attempt launched by the Department of Health, which is targeting the nation's eight million smokers.
The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is backing the campaign by holding two quit smoking courses throughout October, including one in Exeter.
Smokers can receive free specialist advice and support and meet like-minded people interested in stopping.
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Research shows that if smokers can stop for 28 days, they are five times more likely to succeed long-term.
Greg Price, manager of the Devon Stop Smoking Service, said: "Stoptober is going to give smokers who want to stop an excellent opportunity to try.
"Smokers can just quit for October and see how its feels. We are confident once they've managed a month, they won't want to go back.
"Our specialist support is free and will include access to a Stoptober quitter's pack, stop smoking medication on prescription and weekly sessions to keep people smoke-free."
The six sessions will start on Monday, September 24, as well as Monday October 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.
They will be led by two of the Trust's specialist stop smoking advisers in its Health Promotion Devon team.
Denise Veen is heading up the Monday lunchtime sessions in Exeter, which take place at Southernhay United Reformed Church Hall from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
The Trust's advisers have supported 973 smokers to give up in the last year and their success rates are among the best in the country, with over three-quarters of people quitting not lighting up within four weeks.
Weekly stop smoking clinics are held in Exeter, Tiverton, Cullompton, Crediton, Willand, Chulmleigh, Honiton, Exmouth and Axminster.
Greg said: "The Trust is fully supporting the national Stoptober campaign, which will allow smokers in Exeter, Mid and East Devon to become part of something bigger. Across the country people will be quitting on 1 October and looking to lead a healthier lifestyle."
A number of celebrities, major companies, councils and stop smoking services across the country will be supporting the campaign.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK's chief medical officer, said: "This is the first time we have launched a mass quit attempt of this kind and if people want to stop smoking and take part in the 28-day programme, there is considerable support and advice available."
Anyone interested in joining the sessions in Exeter must sign up in advance.
More details on 01884 836024 or visit www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk.