The Stoptober Challenge: Quit Smoking in 28 Days

Quitting smoking is difficult, and for the average daily smoker, it can take 30 or more quit attempts before they successfully stop smoking.[1]

While this figure can look daunting, don’t let it put you off – just because stopping smoking is tough, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

If you need a bit of motivation to help you along your quitting journey, why not take part in the Stoptober challenge?

Run by the NHS and Public Health England every October, the Stoptober smoking challenge encourages smokers to give up the habit for 28 days. 2.3 million people have made quit attempts since the campaign’s launch 10 years ago, making it the nation’s biggest quit smoking attempt.[2]

So, if you are one of the 7 out of 10 smokers that want to quit smoking,[3] keep reading to learn what the Stoptober smoking challenge is and how it can improve your chances of quitting for good.

What is Stoptober?

Stoptober is a 28 day stop smoking challenge that takes place every October. It is based on research that shows if you stop smoking for 28 days then you’re five times more likely to stop smoking for good.[4]

But how does Stoptober work?

The challenge breaks down the quitting process into 28 days, making it more manageable for people looking to kick the habit. People are also encouraged to go through the stop smoking journey with friends, family and like-minded quitters, leading to a better Stoptober success rate than when quitting alone.


Why is Stoptober a good time to give up smoking?

There are lots of reasons Stoptober is a great time to quit smoking. From being part of a community of quitters to having access to lots of Stoptober resources and support, here are 4 reasons why Stoptober is a good time to start your quitting journey.

1. You’ll have plenty of support

If you’ve made a quit smoking attempt before, you’ll probably know how hard it can be to resist the cravings and keep going when you try and quit cold turkey.

In fact, only 3-5% of smokers who quit cold turkey are able to quit the habit long-term[5]. As a result, a key part of the campaign is to provide smokers with plenty of Stoptober resources and tools to help them quit. This means you’ll have access to a wide range of support throughout your quitting journey, including everything from advice on quit smoking products, to daily emails and a personalised quit smoking plan. This support should keep you motivated to keep going and quit for good.

If you are looking for year-round support, using your local stop smoking service can make you four times more likely to quit successfully. [6]

2. You’ll be quitting smoking with others

Quitting with others can be a great way to give you that extra bit of support when you need it.

You could ask a friend to join you in the Stoptober smoking challenge, or you can take advantage of the online community available as part of the campaign. Whatever your approach, sharing the experience can be a good source of extra motivation.

Telling and talking to others about your quit attempt will also make you more likely to stick to it. It might feel safer not to tell anyone about quitting, as no one will know if you give up. But, telling a friend or even a total stranger on the internet about your attempt to give up smoking is a great way to stay on track.

3. It’s easier to avoid smoking triggers

One of the hardest parts of quitting smoking can be going to events or doing activities in which you would normally smoke with others. This could be weddings, parties or just going out for drinks. You might strongly associate these activities with smoking and seeing others smoke could trigger a smoking relapse.

With 2.3 million people attempting to quit since Stoptober launched in 2012, quitting during this time means there will be fewer people smoking and fewer temptations.

If you have a friend who is also quitting, you can even make plans to avoid these trigger situations altogether. This change in behaviour doesn’t have to be permanent, but can be used just to help manage smoking cravings until the worst of the urges have passed.

4. If you quit for 28 days, you can quit for good

The Stoptober challenge is based on research that shows if you stop smoking for 28 days then you’re five times more likely to quit smoking for good [4].

By breaking down the process into 28 days, it can feel more manageable and you can even sign up for motivational emails from the NHS for day-by-day stop smoking advice.

If quitting for good feels like too big a step at the moment, Stoptober also gives a clear start-day and end-day. So, even if you continue smoking after Stoptober ends, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you completed your set goal rather than feeling disappointed that you started smoking again.

If you can complete the Stoptober challenge, you might even feel more confident about taking on a bigger challenge afterwards and taking the next step towards a smoke-free life.

5. Stoptober works

Each year thousands of people quit with Stoptober. The community support and advice on what tools and products can help you quit smoking means Stoptober works.

If you’re wondering how effective Stoptober is, the success of the challenge is in the numbers. Since starting in 2012, Stoptober has encouraged over 1 million quit attempts, and, in the first Stoptober campaign alone, over eight thousand people stopped smoking permanently.[7]

So join in this October and become one of the thousands who have quit through Stoptober.

How to improve your chance of quitting with Stoptober

Making a quit attempt this Stoptober, is a great first step in starting your quitting journey. However, setting a date to quit doesn’t make resisting temptation any easier, especially when cravings do strike.

Quitting is tough, but there are steps you can take during Stoptober to improve your chances of stopping smoking. Some tips that can help include:

  1. Write down your reasons to quit – there are lots of reasons to quit smoking and writing them down means you can come back to them when you need that extra bit of support.
  2. Use the help and support available – quitting smoking is a personal challenge, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself or without support. There are plenty of support services and Stoptober resources available to increase your chances of stopping smoking for good.
  3. Have a plan to manage cravings – having a plan in place can help stave off cravings when they strike. Our guide to managing cravings when giving up smoking includes practical tips you can follow to boost your chances of quitting.
  4. Don’t give up on giving up – we’re all human, and sometimes we might slip up and relapse into smoking. However, don’t let this derail your quit attempt. You can beat a smoking relapse, and even use it to galvanise your quit attempt!

So, set yourself your own Stoptober smoking challenge this October, and make this the year you quit smoking.

How can I take part in Stoptober?

To join the Stoptober Campaign all you have to do is make a quit smoking attempt for 28 days this October. It’s as simple as that.

The official start date is the 1st of October, but you can join or recruit friends to quit smoking throughout the month.

To take part in the challenge, you don’t have to sign up to anything or pay any money. There is no right or wrong way to quit smoking with Stoptober. You can simply choose an approach that works for you.

Alongside Stoptober resources, the NHS website offers plenty of tools and advice on products and techniques you can use to help you quit.

So whatever approach you take, you can find plenty of support to help you achieve your goal and quit smoking today.

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