UK: STOPTOBER – Firing Up The Nation’s Stop Smoking Challenge

Last Updated: 22 October 2014
Article by Karen Taylor

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

On the 8 September Public Health England launched its latest Stoptober campaign aimed at encouraging people across the country to stop smoking from the 1 October for 28 days (and beyond). Evidence shows that if a smoker can stop for 28 days they are five times more likely to stay smoke-free. The campaign is supported by local NHS Stop Smoking Services, Local Authorities, pharmacies, retailers and large employers. This support is backed by a national TV, radio, press and online campaign running for 6 weeks. So most people are likely to have heard about it – but what's the evidence base, how does it work and why is it necessary?

The aim of Stoptober is not just to encourage people to stop smoking but, importantly, to stay smoke-free. Signing up to the campaign (on provides people with daily information and support. People can also sign up to receive a free pack containing further tips on how to stop smoking and distraction techniques to help stay smoke free, there is also an app to track progress and text support over the 28 days of the campaign. Stoptober has increased in popularity due to growing evidence of its effectiveness. So far, in 2014, some 258,299 people have joined the campaign. Compared to 250,000 people who completed the 4-week smoke-free challenge in 2013 and the 160,000 in 2012.

In launching the 2014 campaign, PHE drew attention to new research which shows that someone who quits smoking for Stoptober, and doesn't smoke again, could gain an extra seven days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life. Along with health benefits, stopping can save the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year. During last year's Stoptober campaign, some £25 million was saved by people not buying cigarettes.

In addition to this campaign, smokers can also access new technologies to assist them in stopping smoking. The NHS App library contains four recommended and medically reviewed apps that have been designed to help people stop smoking. The most recent data about the reduction in the number of smokers in England are encouraging, indicating that only 18.7 per cent of the English population now smoke.1This is the lowest figure since 1974. As a consequence, the annual expenditure on tobacco has reduced from almost £20 billion in 2005 to £15 billion in 2013.2

Nonetheless those who smoke are still exposed to a number of serious health risks, including a significantly increased risk of dying prematurely. There is a huge body of literature and academic research that demonstrates that smoking increases the risk of heart attack, lung and other cancers (e.g. mouth, lip, throat), bronchitis and emphysema. It also reduces the sense of smell and taste. Second hand smoke can reduce lung function in non-smokers as well as having an increased risk of cancer. Currently:

  • 32 per cent of men in the 25-34 age group smoke
  • 29 per cent of women aged 20-24 smoke
  • two-thirds of smokers start before they turn 18
  • 81 per cent of smokers smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day
  • 50.6 per cent of smokers have tried electronic cigarettes, but mostly ex-smokers use them on a regular basis (700,000 people). 3

Smoking is estimated to cost the NHS in England approximately £2 billion a year in treating ill-health and diseases caused by smoking. This includes the costs of hospital admissions, GP consultations and prescriptions. Consequently, expenditure on tobacco control is perceived as providing good value for money with reductions in smoking resulting in a net annual benefit of £1.7 billion. 4

Additionally it is evident that employers have reasons to support stop smoking campaigns. Data shows smoking has a negative impact on the economy in England, as every year:

  • businesses lose over 11 million days productivity due to smoking-related sick days, costing around £1 billion
  • smoking breaks cost businesses £5 billion
  • smoking-related deaths result in 158,290 years of lost productivity, costing the economy £3 billion
  • smoking costs society approximately £13.1 billion. 5

While Stoptober is a relatively new initiative, it is the latest in a long list of Government initiatives to reduce the number of smokers. Indeed since October 2003, packages of cigarettes sold in the UK have carried warning messages; in October 2008 cigarette packages carried negative pictorial images, in addition to messages. Since July 2007 smoking has been banned in all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places. Moreover, from April 2012, tobacco products cannot be displayed in large shops and supermarkets, but must be hidden behind shutters and over the last ten years the price of tobacco has increased by 80.2 per cent making it 22.1 per cent less affordable. 6

After Australia introduced plain packaging in 2013, the UK Government commissioned independent researchers as part of a wider consultation exercise determine whether to do the same in the UK. The interim results, published in April 2014, showed that people (both adults and children) perceive plain packets as less attractive, poorer quality, poorer tasting and cheaper than branded ones. 7 The consultation ended in August 2014. Given the time needed for the legislative process it's uncertain whether anything will happen before the general election.

Smoking is a life style choice but stopping smoking may well be one of the best choices you can make for yourself, your wallet and your family.









The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.