SMOKERS across Worcestershire are being urged to take the first steps to quit during October as part of the Public Health England annual Stoptober campaign.

Although smoking rates in the West Midlands are the lowest on record at 15.7 per cent, anyone who smokes is putting their health at risk.

According to the NHS, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England accounting for more than 80,000 deaths a year. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease and many more are living with debilitating smoking-relating illnesses.

Stoptober, which runs for the month of October, returns for a fifth year and nearly 15 million people across the country have already stopped smoking as a result. Anyone who stops smoking for 28 days is five times more likely to quit for good.

The smoking rate across the West Midlands has fallen by 2.6 per cent over the past four years to 15.7 per cent. Last year, over 21,000 people signed up to Stoptober in the region and, out of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20 per cent) were successful - the highest recorded success rate and up from just 13.6 per cent six years ago.

PHE believes current quit smoking aids are playing a big part in the success of people who want to stop smoking and last year more than one million people in England used an e-cigarette in the bid to give up. Around 7000,000 used a licensed nicotine replacement product such as patches or gum.

Dr Lola Abudu, deputy director for Health and Wellbeing at PHE West Midlands said: “Every year we are seeing the numbers of people quitting smoking across the West Midlands fall. While this is always good news we know that there are still many people out there who want to give up and need the support that campaigns like Stoptober give them to quit smoking for good.”

Dr. Gina Radford, deputy chief medical officer, said: “While we know that quitting smoking is not easy, this Stoptober is a perfect time to try again. The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking.

“There is more help and support available now than ever before. The introduction of standardised packs removes the glamorous branding and brings health warnings to the fore and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now regulated to assure their safety and quality.

“We also have a range of free support that can go direct to your phone, laptop or tablet via the Stoptober app, a daily email service or Facebook Messenger bot.

“The new Stoptober website also has advice and information on stop smoking services and quitting aids. Stoptober has helped lots of smokers quit for 28 days and beyond. So if you smoke, why not make this Stoptober the time you quit – for good.”

In 2015 nearly 2,000 people in Worcestershire signed up to Stoptober with 1,647 requesting quit smoking packs, 461 people requested SMS support texts and 1,414 requested the app.

Worcestershire County Councillor John Smith, chairman of the Health and Well-being Board which is the body which oversees the system for local health commissioning, is urging the county's smokers to make this October their time to give up.

He said: "Stopping smoking is still one of the best things you can do for your health and is one of the biggest causes of premature death in Worcestershire, with figures showing over 2,500 smoking attributable deaths in Worcestershire between 2012 and 2014."

"Worcestershire County Council fully supports the Stoptober campaign. There has never been a better time to give up with success rates higher than ever. In Worcestershire, we urge every smoker to consider Stoptober this October and make it their time to quit. There is some great information on the website, including an app and lots of stories from people who have quit."

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.

According to the NHS, smoking causes about 90 per cent of lung cancers and it also causes cancers in many other parts of the body such as the mouth, lips, throat, voice box, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach and pancreas.

It also damages the heart and blood circulation and increases the risk of coronary heart disease; heart attack; stroke; damaging blood vessels and the arteries supplying blood to the brain. It also affects the lungs and can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease including bronchitis and emphysema plus pneumonia.

The average smoker has 13 cigarettes a day which works out at around 364 cigarettes a month. Stopping smoking will save the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year.

In addition to this, a person who quits will find their sense of taste will return and they’ll enjoy their food better; their breathing and general fitness will improve as will the appearance of their skin and teeth.

They tend to become more confident in social situations because they don’t smell of stale smoke and they will find their fertility levels will improve along with the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Those people with families will protect the health of those around them by not exposing them to second-hand smoke, however careful they think they are being.

They will reduce the chances of their children suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, meningitis and ear infections. Read more at

• For more information, search ‘Stoptober’ online and choose the package of support that will help you quit for good, including details of your local stop smoking services.

• ASH (Action on Smoking and Health - a national group) has estimated that the annual cost to the NHS across Worcestershire is approximately £21 million: and