It's time to stop smoking


Hackney’s smokers are being encouraged to sign up to Stoptober and give up cigarettes for 28 days, with the aim of quitting for good.

Approximately 20 per cent of the Hackney population smokes - that’s around 50,000 people. To stand an even better chance of giving up, smokers are being encouraged to sign up with their friends, family and colleagues, as evidence reveals that this type of social quitting can dramatically improve people’s chances of successfully stopping.

Research shows that smokers are two-thirds (67 per cent) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and around a third more likely to quit when a close friend or someone they work with stops (36 per cent and 34 per cent respectively).

To help the borough’s quitters, Stoptober will be providing a personal touch from some of the nation’s leading comedians: Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi. Messages of support and encouragement will be sent straight to quitters’ phones and emails throughout October.

Since 2014, 1,007 smokers in Hackney have successfully quit. After nearly 60 years, 74-year-old Thomas O’Reilly gave up in June 2015. Thomas started smoking at 16 after being encouraged by friends to try a cigarette.

His wake-up call came while at work. He said: “I was about 60ft up the scaffolding with a cigarette in my mouth. I dropped the cigarette and reached down to pick it up and my leg went and then my speech went and I had to lay down. I thought I was having a stroke. I got taken to hospital in an ambulance and taken to the stroke clinic. They told me that it was an aneurism in my brain caused by a blocked artery. I was told that the smoking had not helped this and the doctor told me “you’ve got to pack it in!

“The first two and a half weeks were hard but now I don’t crave them. I’m determined this time, I’m so determined. If I do feel like I want to have a cigarette, I chew gum instead.”

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
Quitting smoking is tough, but help and support is there for you. When you sign up to Stoptober you will join thousands of other people who are determined to kick the habit.

Too many people are dying from smoking related illnesses in Hackney – smoking is the biggest risk to people’s health. We want to reduce the number of smokers in the borough, particularly the numbers of young people who are still taking up the habit.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

Public Health England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: "Smoking is still our biggest preventable killer: 80,000 people die a year in England because of smoking, and so stopping smoking is the single best thing a person can do for their health. We know quitting with a friend or family member can increase a person’s chances of stopping for good. Why not join the thousands of people all across the country who are quitting at the same time during Stoptober, maximising their chances of getting through 28 days smoke free."

New rules on smoking in cars and the sale of electronic cigarettes to under 18s come into force from 1 October. From that date, it will be illegal: for retailers to sell e-cigarettes or e-liquids to someone under 18; for adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes; for someone to smoke in private vehicles that are carrying an under 18. Anyone caught will get a £50 fine.

Stoptober starts on Thursday 1 October and will include daily messages of motivation, persuasion and distraction, as well as online tips and content.

For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online and sign up.

For local advice and support to stop smoking call: 0800 046 9946 or 020 3316 108. Smokers can also go along to the Stoptober Roadshow.