England, Wales tackle smoking with STOPTOBER campaign

Sept 26, 2014

Christy Craig

Killing nearly 6 million people each year, tobacco is described by the WHO as “one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.”

And while 4 out of 5 of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries, the tobacco epidemic affects high-income countries as well; in Wales and England, smoking rates among adults remain high, at 21 and 20%, respectively.

Recognizing the high costs of smoking and tobacco use in their countries, IANPHI member institutes Public Health England (PHE) and Public Health Wales (PHW) are preparing to launch their annual national smoking cessation campaigns, in a month-long event: Stoptober.

In England, the campaign integrates comedy – starring comedians Paddy McGuinness and Alastair James Hay – and personalized support throughout the 28-day campaign. Through simple online registration, participants are offered tips, advice, text message support, and opportunities to track progress in a mobile app. In 2013, the campaign enrolled 250,000 people, with 65% able to quit for the full campaign.  

After meeting with success in England last year, the 2014 Stoptober campaign has been expanded to include the Netherlands and New Zealand