REGIONAL health chiefs are marking the tenth anniversary of the stop smoking campaign Stoptober after research found smokers had been lighting up more since the first lockdown.
Data from the monthly UCL Smoking Toolkit Study indicates a large increase in smoking among the under-35s since the pandemic, up from 18 per cent in 2019 to 24 per cent.
The increase say health bosses makes this year’s Stoptober mass quit attempt more important than ever.
They say stopping smoking brings multiple benefits to health, some immediate and others that build over time.
These include being able to start moving better, being able to breathe more easily and saving money with the average smoker saving £1,875.60 a year by quitting smoking.
Dr Lola Abudu, Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said: “This is the 10th anniversary of Stoptober, which has helped more than two million people to quit.
“Rates of smoking in the West Midlands have continued to decline over the last decade, however the most recent data shows at least 14 per cent of the region’s adults continue to put their health at risk from smoking.
“With the stresses of the pandemic, some people who quit may have taken up the habit again.
“We know around 45 per cent of smokers have been smoking more since the first lockdown, due to boredom and anxiety.
“A recent survey shows smoking rates in young adults have increased during the pandemic, which makes this 10th anniversary Stoptober mass quit attempt even more important.”
For more information on quitting, search online for Stoptober.