Stoptober is back to offer support to quitters


Posted on: 28 September 2015

Stoptober – the 28-day challenge to support smokers to stop smoking is back, and with the introduction of new legislation making it illegal to smoke in a car with a person under 18, there are more reasons than ever to quit.

Devon County Council is backing the Stoptober campaign and, working with organisations and communities across the county to support people to quit, with a combination of events and activities, smoking cessation support and advice through its Devon Stop Smoking Service.

Currently over 100,000 people in Devon smoke.  Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops too. The data also shows that individuals are much more likely (61%) to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes – showing the powerful influence that people’s social networks have on their own smoking behaviour. 

Sylvia Larcombe, 68, first tried smoking when she was just 13 years old, and went on to become a regular smoker of up to 20 cigarettes a day.  Realising smoking was damaging her health, with worsening circulation in her leg making it difficult to walk, Sylvia took advice to stop smoking before specialist medical treatment. 

Sylvia managed to cut down and then asked Devon Stop Smoking Service for help to quit for good. 

Sylvia Larcombe quit smoking with Stoptober

Sylvia Larcombe quit smoking with Stoptober

“Every time I went to the GP they would ask if I was still smoking and advise me to stop. I found out about the local stop smoking service from my GP. I was able to get appointments close to home at Tiverton hospital, and at a time that suited me. I always felt like I was going to get my halo polished and my advisor, Denise, gave me so much support and encouragement.  Now I’m determined to be smokefree for life.

“On the day of my last cigarette I took all my smoking paraphernalia to my daughter who promptly put it in the bin!  My daughter gave me a big box of hero chocolates for quitting, she made me feel like a hero.  I’ve achieved something amazing after a life time of smoking.”

Sylvia has noticed the benefits of quitting, not only for her health but financially too.  

“My health is better, my finances are improved and I now have a better outlook on life.”

The money saved is now being used to furnish Sylvia’s new home and she is looking forward to having furniture and a home that doesn’t smell of stale smoke.  Sylvia is urging other smokers to follow her success and quit for good. 

“Try to do it one day or one week at a time, maybe for a Stoptober challenge.  If I can do it after more than 50 years, I know others can too. It really is easier than you think.”

This year, Stoptober will be providing quitters with a personal touch from some of the nation’s leading comedians – Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi.  Messages of support and encouragement will be sent straight to quitters’ phones and emails throughout October. 

An illegal tobacco awareness event will be held in Bedford Street, Exeter on 19 October, to raise awareness of the issues around the sale and supply of smuggled and counterfeit tobacco.    This is also an opportunity to gain information about where such products are being sold.  

Tobacco detection dogs will be on show to demonstrate their skills while officers from Smoke Free South West and the Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service will be on hand to provide information about illegal tobacco.  There will also be information about the services available for people looking to quit smoking. The event will run from 10am to 3pm. 

And in Plymouth on 29 September, the national Stoptober roadshow will feature dynamic entertainment troupe Faces of Disco – from Britain’s Got Talent fame, as well as the Stoptober street team who will be available for advice and information on how to sign up.

Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year with more than half making it to 28 days; this year, it is expected the campaign will welcome the millionth sign up. By stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good. 

Last year in Devon, 2,744 people signed up to quit through Stoptober.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: 

“Stoptober is now a well recognised and successful campaign, where thousands of people each year successfully quit smoking.

“With the introduction this year of new laws around smoking in cars where there are children present, there are more reasons than ever to quit, and anyone signing up to Stoptober will receive plenty of support, from an app with comedy clips to motivational quotes and even a money saving calculator, or free personalised face to face advice and support is available through our Devon Stop Smoking Service.

“People who quit for a month or more are five times more likely to quit for good, and if you sign up with a friend of family member, that increases your success rate even more.”

Fiona Andrews, Director of Smokefree South West said: “Stoptober is a fantastic opportunity to join with friends, family and colleagues to take the challenge together and get free support to quit smoking.”

Anyone who wants to quit this Stoptober can visit the website and sign up to the 28 day quit challenge. For more information and advice on quitting smoking contact the Devon Stop Smoking Service on 01884 836024 or email 

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing