With September drawing to a close and bringing with it the end of the ‘One You’ public health challenge I wrote about last week, October marks the start of two new important health campaigns, Stoptober and Sober October
Stoptober encourages smokers to kick the habit. The 28-day challenge is now in its fifth year and in that time has had a huge impact, for the better, on the health of Tameside residents. Last year over 1000 people in Tameside signed up to the challenge to quit smoking for good and the proportion of our residents who are smokers is now 21.7%, down from more than 50% in 1975. However 21.7% is still above the national average of 19%, so we still have some way to go to create the healthy Tameside that we aspire to.
Sober October is championed by MacMillan Cancer Support. It challenges people to give up drinking alcohol for the month of October and encourages people to get sponsorship for doing so, to raise money for the charity.
If you want to take part in either of these challenges, there are a range of support services on offer throughout the month so that you won’t be on your own. You can sign up for daily e-mails, facebook messenger alerts and, for Stoptober, there’s even an app you can download for your phone or tablet (there seems to be one for everything nowadays doesn’t there?).
For smokers, local services and pharmacies are also available to provide free, expert face-to-face support and guidance. The research shows that people who quit smoking with the support of a stop smoking service adviser are four times more likely to stop for good. If you’re serious about quitting then I’d definitely encourage you to take up this offer – especially given it’s free.
Now I’ve purposely decided not to go on in this blog about how expensive a habit smoking is, or the diseases that smokers place themselves at risk at every time they take a drag. Those arguments have been well rehearsed elsewhere before and until the world’s last ever cigarette has been stubbed out they will continue to be rehearsed long in to the future. Equally I could’ve talked about all the gruesome illnesses that heavy drinking could lead to, but I’m sure you’ve heard all that before too.
Instead here are some positive reasons to give ‘giving up’ a go. When I was researching for this blog I found a range of health benefits from stopping smoking that I wasn’t aware of. These are listed here, take a look and you may be surprised too. And in the case of Sober October what better reason to sign up than improving your health and raising money for projects like the new MacMillan Cancer Centre based at Tameside Hospital?
If you’d like any more support or advice on quitting smoking or cutting down your alcohol consumption you can call Be Well Tameside on 0161 716 2000. If you’ve heard enough already and decided you’re ready to sign up, good luck!