Doctors urge people to try giving up smoking ahead of national awareness campaign

Experts are encouraging smokers to try to quit the habit. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA

Experts are encouraging smokers to try to quit the habit. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Smokers across Norfolk are being urged to give up cigarettes for a month when this year's Stoptober campaign launches on the first day of October.

Now in its fourth year, the 28-day challenge will be once again calling on the county's smokers to quit.

In Norfolk it is estimated that 18pc of adults smoke. Figures also suggest more than 4,500 people died from smoking-related illnesses in the county between 2010-12.

Experts claim every cigarette shortens your life by five to six minutes.

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health at Norfolk County Council, said: 'The Stoptober campaign is vitally important as it provides another way of reaching out to people who smoke who perhaps haven't had the support to kick the habit previously.

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'Throughout the month there will be a number of services available to encourage Norfolk's smokers to quit.'

She said there was a particular issue in Norfolk of women smoking during pregnancy and people aged 35 or more having to go to hospital for illness caused by smoking.

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'Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and each year it accounts for over 80,000 deaths with one in two long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking-related disease,' Dr Smith said.

'2.5 million smokers nation-wide attempted to kick the habit last year with 20pc of these being successful.

'We want to improve these statistics, and people taking part in Stoptober will be provided with a detailed 28-day step-by-step programme to support them and improve their chances of quitting successfully.'

Research shows that people who do quit for 28 days are five times more likely to give up for good.

Last year 277 people in Norfolk signed up to the Stoptober campaign, with 146 patients kicking the habit successfully thanks to the support of stop smoking services funded by Norfolk County Council Public Health.

Health benefits of stopping to smoke include a better sense of taste and smell, as well as a reduced risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council's communities committee, said: 'People need to be physically, mentally and emotionally ready to give up smoking.'

For more information on using Smoke Free Norfolk call 0800 0854 113 or visit

Have you got a health story? Contact our health correspondent by emailing

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