Smokers are encouraged to swap fags for gags

smokingetiquetteThe country’s top comedians have been enlisted to help smokers get through a 28 day quitting challenge.

Stoptober 2014 – a nationwide public health stop smoking challenge – is encouraging smokers in East Sussex to swap their fags for gags, to help them quit for good this October.

Top British comedians including Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson, Jason Bent and Dr Bob) and Andi Osho will this year bring a touch of the British sense of humour to help quitters through this difficult and daunting challenge.

Smoking is no laughing matter and neither is quitting. Two thirds of smokers say they want to quit1 but only four in ten told a recent survey that they have tried in the last year.

Evidence shows that if a smoker can go 28 days without a cigarette, they are five times more likely to stay permanently smoke free. Quitting smoking can be a difficult process but successfully quitting has significant health, monetary and social benefits.

Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex Acting Director of Public Health, said: “We know the idea of giving up smoking can be daunting, but Stoptober has proved to be a fantastic platform for people to quit and offers all the support that smokers may need to take the first step to stopping for good.

“Stopping for 28 days is an achievable goal, and people who meet the Stoptober challenge are far more likely to quit smoking for good. Those who stop smoking for 28-days and longer will begin to experience financial, physical and health benefits including better sense of taste and smell and a reduced risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

“We encourage all smokers in East Sussex to give it a try and join in with the thousands of others to take up the challenge and give Stoptober a go – stop smoking and start smiling.”

Stoptober launched nationally this week with a three minute TV sketch show fronted by the leading comedy line-up.

The 28 day quit challenge starts on the October 1 and people who take part will be provided with a range of free tools including a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app, text support with daily updates, quitting advice, jokes and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media channels.

A nationwide roadshow running until Saturday, October 11, will see comedic entertainers go into communities across the country to drive more people to get involved in the campaign and share their own humorous experiences of quitting smoking or supporting others.

In East Sussex, the Quit51 East Sussex stop smoking service will be bringing the campaign to various community locations throughout the county during the months of September and October to publicise locally and support people to take part in the challenge.

In 2013, 250,000 people took part nationally and we are hoping that even more will get involved this year by searching ‘Stoptober’ online and sign up.

More information is available online at or speak to a friendly, qualified adviser in your local free NHS stop smoking service at East Sussex Quit 51 NHS Stop Smoking Service call: 0800 622 6968

Local roadshow events:
• Eastbourne District General Hospital, Main Reception – October 10 and 24 at 10am
• Brighton University Fresher’s day , Eastbourne campus – September  30
• Langney Shopping Centre, Eastbourne – every Tuesday throughout September and October
• Sussex Downs College Fresher’s day, Eastbourne campus – September 18
• British Heart Foundation shop, Terminus Road, Eastbourne – from September 15
• Summerfield’s sports centre, Bohemia Road, Hastings – September 27 from 9.30am to 4pm
• Conquest Hospital, main foyer, St Leonards-on-Sea – September 29, all day