Smokers across Norfolk are being encouraged to make a pledge to quit smoking during October, as part of a national campaign called Stoptober.

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The campaign, which is the first ever mass quit attempt launched by the Department of Health, is being supported in the county by local stop smoking service, Smokefree Norfolk.

The service is run by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) and expert advisors will be on hand to help people to make it through October without cigarettes.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage smokers to kick the habit for 28 days, starting on a date of their choosing in October.

Katie McGoldrick, Smokefree Norfolk’s team leader, said: “Research shows that people who quit smoking for at least four weeks are up to five times more likely to stay quit. We understand that taking the step to give up smoking can be tough, but Stoptober gives people the chance to kick the habit alongside people from across the country and with the support of professional stop smoking advisors.”

Smoking-related conditions, such as cancer, are one of the biggest causes of premature death. Nationally, there are 100,000 deaths in the UK each year which can be linked to smoking and one-in-two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.

People who have previously contacted Smokefree Norfolk, but decided the time was not right for them to quit smoking, will shortly be sent a letter and a Stoptober Preparation Pack inviting them to try again.

The pack includes key information about the benefits of quitting smoking, hints and tips on ways to avoid the temptation to smoke, details on the range of support available, including using patches and gum, and information on how to access expert support locally.

Smokers who have not contacted the service before, but are interested in taking part in Stoptober or finding out more about the help available to them, can contact Smokefree Norfolk directly.

The Smokefree Norfolk team will be hosting a stand at NCH&C’s Healthier Fair on Wednesday, September 26 at The Forum, Norwich, where people can come along to meet members of the team, find out more about Stoptober and the support available to them.

Alternatively, the team can be contacted on Freephone 0800 0854 113 or by going to www.smokefreenorfolk.nhs.uk

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