Join Together and Quit Smoking this StoptoberNow is a good time for the region’s smokers to quit the smoking habit. The launch of this year’s Stoptober smoking cessation campaign will enable more smokers to join together in their collective drive to kick the smoking habit.

This year’s public health campaign, supported by NHS England, aims to support smokers through 28 smoke free days.

Smokers are being encouraged to sign up with their friends, families and colleagues, as evidence reveals that ‘social quitting’ of this type can dramatically improve people’s chances of successfully stopping smoking.

Research also shows that smokers are 67% more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, or 36% more likely to stop when a close friend stops or 34% when a colleague stops; showing the powerful influence that people’s social networks have on their own smoking behaviour.

This is backed up by a study of smokers in Australia, Canada the UK and the United States, which shows that the fewer smoking friends someone has, the more likely they are to succeed in a quit attempt.

Public Health England has also enlisted support from some of the nation’s top comedians; by signing up to Stoptober, quitters will receive humerous online supportive messages from Bill Bailey, Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rhod Gilbert.

Dr Liz Mearns, Medical Director from the local office of NHS England said: “We are very much in support of this campaign, providing an excellent opportunity to smokers everywhere who really want to kick the smoking habit. Stopping smoking with friends, family or colleagues provides a real boost of extra support, and is a great incentive. If a smoker can stay smoke free for 28 days he or she will be five times more likely to stop for good.”

Find out how quickly you’ll notice the benefits of stopping: After 20 minutes: Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. After 8 hours:

Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal. After 48 hours:

Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.

After 48 hours:

There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.

After 72 hours:

Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

After 2-12 weeks:

Your circulation improves.

After 3-9 months:

Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.

After 5 years:

Risk of heart attacks falls to about half compared with a person who is still smoking.

After 10 years:

Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year, 36000 in the South East alone, with more than half making it to 28 days. This year, it is expected the campaign will welcome the millionth sign up.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via or alternatively called at