Today marks the first day of an innovative new campaign in which thousands of people across England come together to start a new challenge. This challenge – not smoking for 28 days – has materialised in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and to help people give up this habit.

The latest statistics from Cancer Research UK show the age group 20-24 to have the highest percentage of smokers, with 27% of people choosing to smoke. For students, this is perhaps a sign of increased curiosity at university, or the stress of exams and coursework. Smoking at university has become a very social pastime over the years, with the smoking areas of clubs becoming prime locations in which to meet new people. This has become so apparent that many non-smokers choose to frequent outside areas of clubs due to their new-found status as social hubs.

However, Stoptober is open to anyone and offers help through a number of mediums.

Stoptober aims to aid and support those who are giving up by offering them a free Stoptober pack, which includes tools and tips on how to prepare for the 28 day challenge. In addition, there is a Smartphone App available for download as well as the opportunity to receive daily motivational texts in order to encourage participants on their journey to giving up.

Since the government set up the NHS Stop Smoking Service in 1999, the service has helped thousands of people to stop smoking, with nearly a quarter of a million people setting a quit date through this service in 2006. After the ban of public smoking was put forward in the UK in 2007, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of smokers. However, the NHS is still working tirelessly to continue the decline with this new Stoptober campaign and it is set to be very successful.

To take part in Stoptober, all you have to do is visit the SmokeFree NHS website, which can be found here. Once on the website, you will be guided towards the registration page where you can give your details and order your free Stoptober pack.

If you would like more advice on how to stop smoking, visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk.

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