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Smokers in Devon are being urged to join a massive new national campaign and give up the habit during October
Stoptober is the first ever mass quit attempt launched by the Department of Health.
Research shows that if smokers can stop for 28 days, they are five times more likely to stay quit.
Two quit smoking courses are being held during the month, in Exeter and Barnstaple. Smokers can receive free specialist advice and support and meet like-minded people interested in stopping.
The specialist support is free and will include access to a Stoptober quitter's pack, stop smoking medication on prescription and weekly sessions to keep people smoke free.
The six sessions will start on Monday 24 September until 29 October.
Specialist Denise Veen is heading up the Monday lunchtime sessions in Exeter, which take place at Southernhay United Reformed Church Hall from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Lyn Tehver will take the Monday evening sessions at Barnstaple Health Centre from 6pm to 7pm.
The Trust's advisers have supported 973 smokers to give up in the last year and their success rates are among the best in the country, with over three-quarters of people quitting not lighting up within four weeks.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK's chief medical officer, said: "We are launching Stoptober on 1 October because smoking remains the biggest cause of premature death in England, accounting for over 100,000 deaths in the UK every year. This is the first time we have launched a mass quit attempt of this kind and if people want to stop smoking and take part in the 28-day programme, there is considerable support and advice available."
Greg Price from the Devon Stop Smoking Service talked to our reporter Wendy Buckingham about Stoptober CLICK HERE
Anyone interested in joining the quit smoking sessions in Exeter or Barnstaple must sign up in advance. For more information, call the Devon Stop Smoking Service on 01884 836024 or visit www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk.