Stoptober: Everything you need to know about the annual 28-day challenge to stop smoking

For anyone who regularly smokes who has been thinking about stopping – this month may be your best chance to kick the habit for good.

The arrival of October marks the beginning of Stoptober, an annual campaign that encourages people to stop smoking for 28 consecutive days.

According to a report published by the government in September 2019, the Stoptober initiative helped more than 1.9 million quit smoking over the years.

Approximately 7.2 million people above the age of 18 smoke in the UK, as outlined by figures released by the Office for National Statistics in July 2019.

Meanwhile, around 78,000 people in the UK die every year as a result of smoking-related causes, the NHS states.

Despite knowing the risks, giving up smoking can be a struggle for many smokers.

Spend Time Outside. During the summer months, it is particularly enjoyable to spend time outside. This is great because spending time in the sun will allow us to soak up all the benefits of its warm rays. The UV rays created by the sun are wonderful in helping us to regulate our internal clock. Sunlight increases our production of melanin, a hormone that helps improve our mood and sleep. We recommend that you take a break in your busy day and go for a little walk in the sun, if possible.

Here’s how you can get involved in Stoptober.

What is Stoptober?

Stoptober is a Public Health England campaign that challenges smokers to give up cigarettes for 28 days during the month of October.

The premise is that after abstaining for this period of time, individuals are five times more likely to quit smoking permanently.

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When you do things you enjoy, be it a run, mediation or other hobby, you become happier, which helps you make healthier choices throughout the day.

Power up with protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle. Choose lean or low-fat cuts of beef or pork, and skinless chicken or turkey. Get your protein from seafood twice a week. Quality protein sources come from plant based foods, too.

How can you take part?

If you would like to take part in Stoptober, you can visit nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/, where you can sign up for daily email support and find an online community, through which you can connect with others who are also trying to give up smoking.

The webpage also provides details for England’s National Smokefree Helpline, which can be contacted on 0300 123 1044, Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and at weekends from 11am to 4pm.

What other support is there for people taking part in Stoptober?

You can also download the free NHS Stoptober app, which can help you track your progress and show you how much money you are saving by refraining from smoking.

The app also provides daily support for those taking part.

Lift Heavy Things. Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your body and improve your body composition. It also leads to massive improvements in metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity. The best approach is to go to a gym and lift weights, but doing body weight exercises can be just as effective.

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