Stoptober is back for 2020, with the primary aim of encouraging the nation's smokers to make a quit attempt for the month of October and beyond. As with previous Stoptober campaigns, this year's campaign is founded on the evidence that if a smoker can quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

This service, commissioned by Essex County Council, is working with pharmacies across Essex to offer FREE nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) to help smokers quit. Smokers can join the scheme at participating pharmacies where they will be offered weekly supplies of NRT for up to eight weeks. The NRT is a part of a package which includes proven behavioural support from trained staff; the combination makes you 4 times more likely to successfully quit than going cold turkey.

The initiative is expected to boost the services already impressive success in the county, where over 13,000 people have quit in the last four years with the team. Smokers are encouraged to visit the Essex Wellbeing Service website for information on participating pharmacies and terms and conditions. 

Essex Wellbeing Service also work with several vape shops across the county, training them to deliver behavioural support alongside their products. If you would like to quit smoking by switching to an e-cigarette with the support of a trained smoking cessation advisor, please contact our team for information of your closest participating e-cig store. 

This year, more than any, we want to encourage anyone who may be considering quitting to get in touch. Smoking causes damage to the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, which reduces your ability to fight infections, and also involves repetitive hand-to-face movements. This means that you're increasing the risk of viruses entering the body, and have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections, such as Covid-19.

NHS England stop smoking campaign
Ellen Van Gemmert, who leads the Essex Wellbeing Service said:

"Stoptober has proven to be helpful prompt for smokers to consider breaking the habit. We urge anyone contemplating stopping to contact us as we know people are far more likely to quit when they access medication and behavioural support, and with our free offer, there really is nothing to lose." 

Danny Showell, Public Health Consultant at ECC said:

"Surprisingly the national lock down in March saw an increase in the number of people quitting tobacco smoking. This is such as positive thing to do for health and wellbeing. It is difficult to quit the smoking habit, especially at times of stress. It is important not to be disheartened if you re-start. Many successful ex-smokers have needed several attempts to give up permanently . There is lots of help available such as that offered by Essex Wellbeing Services. Taking up this free support quadruples a person's chance of successfully quitting." 

For more information, contact the Essex Wellbeing Service by calling 0300 303 9988 or emailing us at

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