LABOUR AM KEN SKATES is urging smokers in his Clwyd South constituency to kick their habit from October 1.
Mr Skates, himself a former smoker, wants people to sign up for the nationwide Stoptober challenge – and hopefully stub out the cigarettes for good.
He said: “Research shows that people who quit for Stoptober and manage to stay off tobacco could gain an extra week of life for every 28 days they are smoke free, and those who stop for 28 days are five times more likely to remain tobacco-free.
“As a former smoker myself I am well aware of the severe health risks. Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK, claiming over 100,000 lives and costing the NHS up to £2.7bn every year. Half the nation’s long-term smokers die prematurely from diseases related to smoking.
“But as well as the health benefits, quitting tobacco will save the average smoker more than £150 per month. Last year 160,000 people successfully completed the Stoptober challenge – saving a combined total of £25m.”
Launched by Public Health England, the annual challenge to the eight million smokers in England and Wales begins on October 1.
People who sign up get a free information and advice pack and can give and receive encouragement through Stoptober’s social media channels. They will also receive a 28-day mobile phone app and text and email support with tips for coping.
Cancer Research UK is urging smokers to take up the challenge and take their ‘first steps to a healthier, tobacco-free future’. A spokeswoman said: “Tobacco continues to cause more than a fifth of all cancer cases and around a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK every year.
“Loosening the lethal grip of tobacco addiction must remain a priority if we are going to reduce the number of lives lost to smoking, and initiatives like Stoptober are hugely valuable in giving smokers dedicated quit support for an entire month.”
Anyone interested in taking part can register at stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk.