Thousands of smokers are stubbing out their last cigarette today as they join a “mass quit” attempt.
The nation’s eight million smokers are being urged to take part in “Stoptober”, which challenges smokers to quit for a month.
Research shows that people who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free.
So far, more than 190,000 people have signed up to the campaign, which is run by Public Health England (PHE).
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “Maybe you, yourself are looking to quit, or know someone who is. If so, Stoptober really is the perfect time to try.
“Facing quitting alone can be an isolating experience, but when you sign up to Stoptober you will not be alone. Many thousands of people will be quitting at the same time and there is a range of free support available to help smokers complete the 28-day challenge and take the first steps necessary to quit for good.
“We know that even taking the first step of trying to quit can be daunting. Research shows two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit, but only four in 10 have tried in the last year. This is despite the well-known health, monetary and social benefits.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), added: “Around two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit, but we know most find it hard to do so.
“Their chances of success are greatly improved by getting help from their local stop smoking services.
“The Stoptober campaign gives smokers who are trying to quit a specific 28-day target along with the extra support they may need to help them succeed.
“We urge anyone wanting to free themselves from their tobacco addiction to sign up to the campaign and to check out their local stop smoking services.”