Smokers Advised Not To Go Cold Turkey When Giving Up

In Industry News by Matthew Tagg

In 2017, nearly 400,000 people in England successfully quit smoking. That equates to around 1,069 smokers every day and despite new people starting and some quitters relapsing, it’s thought there are now one million fewer smokers in England since 2014.

Moreover, if current trends continue, smoking could actually be eradicated in England by 2030 (yes, that’s just over 10 years away), according to Public Health England (PHE).

But despite the very encouraging figures from PHE, giving up smoking isn’t easy – ask anyone who’s tried. So while there will be some who managed it relatively easily, most will struggle and relapse several times throughout their giving up journey.

In fact, of the 6.1 million smokers in England at present, 6 in 10 actually want to quit. The problem is that most people who choose to quit smoking go down the cold turkey route (willpower alone). However, this has been shown to be the least effective method, with just 4% of cold turkey quitters remaining smoke-free after a year.

Fortunately, there is more help available and more stop smoking aids today than ever before, so people who really want to kick the habit don’t need to do so alone using just their willpower. And PHE figures highlight just how effective expert help and stop smoking aids can be.

For example, in 2017 to 2018, 51% of smokers who received support from local stop smoking services managed to successfully quit. The success rate for smokers who used a combination of support services and e-cigarettes was even better at 63%.

[Recommended reading: MPs Urge Government To Consider Relaxing E-cigarette Laws]

This year, another new initiative, Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign, will introduce a free online personal quit plan, designed to give smokers even more support when they are serious about giving up their habit.

The online plan asks smokers a number of questions and provides a personalised quit plan based on their level of tobacco dependency and what stop smoking methods they’ve previously used. There’s even an official Stoptober app that allows smokers to track their progress, see how much money they are saving by ditching the cigarettes and get support on the go.

The Stoptober campaign is centred on three good reasons to quit: feel healthier, save money and protect your family.

Part of the advice contained in the personal quit plans will include encouraging smokers to get expert advice from their local stop smoking service and satisfying their cravings with e-cigarettes/vapes, inhalers and nicotine patches.

Talking about the Stoptober campaign, Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “This year, Stoptober can help you find a combination that could work for you. We predict that thousands of smokers will quit every day over the next 10 years – I urge smokers not to get left behind for the benefit of their health. Join in, find your best way to quit and start your 28-day journey to becoming smokefree.”

The figures don’t lie. The bottom line is you are much more likely to successfully give up smoking by utilising a combination of local support services and stop smoking aids than going cold turkey.

I have over 18 years experience in the Medical Insurance Industry, much of that spent working for Aviva Health in the Distribution team. I joined Premier Choice in 2015 and in that time I have been helping clients to develop the best possible approach to protecting their health. My understanding of how insurers work puts me in a strong position to negotiate the best solutions on behalf of our clients.