We are aware of Ocsober in South Africa, but what is Stoptober?
Stoptober is a campaign that launched in the UK in 2012, which encourages smokers to quit for a range of health reasons. Now, in its seventh year, the campaign is embracing e-cigarettes for the first time.
Health experts never explicitly promoted e-cigarettes before, but they now feature in the latest Stoptober advertisement.
Why are e-cigarettes featured in this year advertisement?
The decision was made after the realisation that e-cigarettes were the most popular tool to quit smoking during last year’s campaign. It only makes sense then that the devices were included in the 2017 campaign. It was found that 53% of people used e-cigarettes during the period. This spiked the numbers participating in Stoptober to 1.5 million since its inception.
Although they are not cited in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) new draft guidance as a cessation recommendation, it does state that some smokers have found them helpful in the quitting process. NICE however also cautions that there “is currently little evidence on the long-term benefits or harms of these products.”
Research however suggests that 20% of cessation attempts were successful in the first 6 months of 2017 by those using e-cigarettes in their efforts. This is compared to an average of 16% over the previous 10 years without these devices.
Professor Gina Radford, the UK government’s deputy chief medical officer said that e-cigarettes were playing an important role and that it was only right that they were promoted during Stoptober. Other factors that were also proving effective include restrictions such as standardised packaging and bans on displays in stores.
The latest figures in the UK saw 15% of people were smoking in 2016, down from 21% in 2007 (when the smoking ban was introduced).
As smoking has decreased, vaping has increased in the UK.
The battle against smoking continues as it’s still the UK’s biggest killer causing 79 000 deaths annually.
If vaping has such a big impact in helping hundreds of thousands to quit smoking successfully in the UK, surely it can do the same for South African smokers.