Public Health England News and Media

21 Sep 2017

Quit smoking figures reveal more smokers in Kent and Medway will kick the habit this Stoptober with help from local support services

Quit smoking figures reveal more smokers in Kent and Medway will kick the habit this Stoptober with help from local support services: Stoptober GRAPHIC
  • Highest smoking quit success rates on record for England in first six months of 2017 – around one-in-five
  • In Kent 65% of smokers who attended drop in clinics managed to quit smoking.
  • In Medway 58% who used telephone support services manged to quit smoking.
  • Expert report says there has never been a better time to quit with e-cigarettes one of the key drivers
  • Launch of Stoptober mass quit event sees new TV ad feature e-cigarettes for the first time

New data shows quitting success rates at their highest for at least a decade, up to 19.8% for the first six months of this year, significantly higher than the average for the last 10 years (15.7%).

A report from University College of London (UCL) published today (Thursday, 21 September) coincides with the launch of Stoptober quit smoking challenge, which has inspired over one and a half million quit attempts since 2012. The campaign is based on research that if you stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

Smokers across Kent and Medway are being urged to join the ranks of ex-smokers by taking part in Stoptober – the mass quitting challenge from Public Health England starting on 1st October.

Smoking rates across Kent and Medway have fallen by more than 5% since 2012. In Kent just 15.2% of the adult population in Kent now smokes. And in Medway the number of smokers is also less than one-in-five at just 19%.

Evidence shows that smokers accessing stop smoking services increase their chances of quitting. Between April 2016 and March 2017 around half of all smokers in Kent and Medway who attempted to quit with help from local stop smoking services were successful. And some services meant people were even more likely to quit. In Kent 65% of smokers who attended drop in clinics succeeded in quitting. And in Medway 58% who used telephone support services manged to quit the habit.

With Stoptober now in its 6th year, the UCL report gives a number of reasons why there’s never been a better time to quit, including:

  • better and more quitting aid options, with e-cigarettes now the most popular;
  • more restrictions on smoking;
  • banning the use of attractive brand imagery on tobacco packaging;
  • a strong anti-smoking culture in England; and
  • supportive stop smoking campaigns such as Stoptober.

Last year over half (53%) of all those taking part in Stoptober opted to use an e-cigarette as a quitting aid. This year the campaign will feature e-cigarettes in the TV ad and will do more to encourage and support smokers who are keen to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking.

Jason Mahoney, tobacco lead for Public Health England South East, said:

“Stoptober is a perfect time for smokers to try and give up smoking – however many times they may have tried in the past. The annual campaign provides the perfect opportunity for family, friends and colleagues to work together towards quitting smoking for good.

“Now more than ever before there are a host of quit smoking aids and free support services available. I would encourage anyone thinking of quitting to make a plan and take part in Stoptober. Evidence shows you are more likely to quit with support from a local stop smoking service than of you try to go it alone.

“Quitting really is the best thing a smoker can do for their health and by committing to quit you will join thousands of smokers across the South East this Stoptober who want to make a positive change to their health.”

Despite the fall in the number of smokers, many people find it hard to quit. Tobacco remains the number one killer in England and a chief cause of long-term poor health with one in four hospital beds occupied by a smoker. In 2015/16 smoking attributable hospital admissions in Kent accounted for 12,447 people and in Medway 2,159.

Encouraging people to quit smoking results in huge health benefits for the individual and huge financial savings for the health service. The annual cost of smoking to the NHS is estimated to be £2.5 billion a year.

Kent County Council Director for Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said:

“Although we are below the national average, we’re aiming for a Smokefree Kent by encouraging our smokers to take part in this year’s Stoptober campaign and take advantage of the quit kits, services and other resources which are available locally. Research shows that if you stop smoking for 28-days you are five times more likely to quit for good so this national campaign is always a very successful incentive for many.”

Case Study – Suzanne Young, 42, of Tunbridge Wells, was an active sportswoman before she took up smoking. Following the death of her boyfriend of 12-years from pancreatic cancer she decided to quit during Stoptober.

Suzanne said: “I became angry with smoking. I thought how dare this cigarette be my bank balance so much, causing my lungs to feel so horrible in the mornings, and prevent me from living the healthy living me I know I once was! When Stoptober was approaching, I just knew the time was right, and I ordered myself a Stoptober pack and signed up to the Facebook page. I also got myself some nicotine patches and went to see my GP for extra support, I am so proud of myself and thankful to Stoptober for helping me to quit.”

Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, said:

“Quitting success rates are higher than ever. I think the advances and wider choice of effective quitting options and a strong anti-smoking culture are fuelling this acceleration.

“Thinking about giving up may be daunting, but all the evidence shows there has never been an easier to time to stop. Quitting needn’t be the painful journey it used to be and the support you’ll get from Stoptober will increase your chances of succeeding.”

The campaign starts on 1st October. Visit to sign up or find out more on what support is available


Contact Information

Mike Burrell
Regional Communications Manager
Public Health England
01403 214557
07789 295 811

Notes to editors

  1. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Website:uk/phe Twitter: @PHE_SouthEast@PHE_uk, Facebook:
  1. Stoptober videos, TV Ad and imagesof celebrities supporting the campaign can be downloaded here:
  1. UCL Report: Quit success rates in England 2007-2017; Jamie Brown Ph.D. Robert West Ph.D.
  2. Data on smoking rates from Public Health England - Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England
  3. Data on quit rates from NHS Digital - Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services: England, April 2016 to March 2017
  4. Data on smoking related hospital admissions from Public Health England – Local Tobacco Control Profiles – smoking attributable hospital admissions
  5. Costs of smoking: The total cost from smoking to society in England is approximately £14.7 billion a year. This includes the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking which is approximately £2.5 billion a year. Source: ASH: The Local Cost of Tobacco – ASH Ready Reckoner:; and Towards a Smokefree Generation: A Tobacco Control Plan for England‚Äč
  1. Deaths caused by smoking: There were estimated to be around 79,000 deaths attributable to smoking in 2015. This represents 16 per cent of all deaths.
  1. A Tobacco Control Plan for England: The government’s new Tobacco Control Plansets a series of challenging ambitions:
  • Reduce adult smoking rates from 15.5% to 12% or less
  • Reduce the prevalence of 15-year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
  • Reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.7% to 6% or less


Number of smokers setting quit date

Percentage successful

Success rate %


Drop in clinics

Phone support













Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services: England, April 2016 to March 2017