Published Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Smokers in Coventry are being encouraged to take quitting seriously this Stoptober following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on people’s health behaviours.


The 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England will fall under the new Coventry Health Challenge campaign as the key theme for October, based on the Government’s Better Health campaign. It is all about encouraging residents to improve and protect their health against COVID-19 and Flu this winter.

Free stop smoking support in Coventry is provided by Healthy Lifestyles Coventry (HLS), the local service commissioned by Coventry City Council, to offer residents free support, one-to-one coaching and free nicotine replacement therapy, as well helping people learn more about leading a healthier lifestyle. Lifestyle coaches will be hosting a live Facebook session on 1 October for those that intend and want to quit. The event will be repeated at the end of October with past and current clients encouraged to join the sessions to show people real examples of success in quitting and personal journeys.

A live advice event from a health coach about stopping smoking will take place on the same day at 1.30pm live on Zoom. HLS client Tom who joined the service along with his son and wife, and are all currently smoke free will be joining.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of daily life, presenting new challenges that may have seen many of us feel more stressed, anxious or depressed, meaning for some of us smoking habits have increased. We are all susceptible to negative lifestyle behaviours, but in times of stress, these behaviours can worsen.

However, Stoptober this year also presents new opportunities, with a greater public awareness around personal health and lockdown showing many that they are able to make and sustain changes to their lives. HLS figures have shown between September 2019 and February 2020, 58% of all people referring into the service have been looking for stop smoking support, which is an increase from 44%.

Smoking has long been seen and used as a stress reliever, but the reality is that it is an artificial sensation of relaxation, which can actually increase anxiety and tension. But making a lifestyle change can be challenging so there are five steps that smokers can also take if they find the thought of going cold turkey too daunting.

5 Ways to Wellbeing for Stoptober

  1. Connect: If you are stopping smoking or wanting to eat better and become more physically active, use groups and coaching services to help keep you on track. HLS offer FREE support throughout your journey.
  2. Be active: Being physically active whilst you are quitting can enhance the physical benefits that quitting gives you and gives you another focus. You can set yourself goals like number of steps per day, or time spent doing something physical like gardening AND you can lower your BMI and cholesterol at the same time. 
  3. Take notice: Use the time you would normally spend smoking, on enjoying the environment around you. Take short walks to up your physical activity, sit in the garden, take notice of what’s going on to help develop an awareness and appreciation of the smaller things. 
  4. Learn: To keep your hands busy when you’re staying away from the cigarettes, try reading a book, doing a crossword or sudoku, or find a new recipe to try. You could also look for local clubs offering walks, activities or crafts. 
  5. Give: You help to support someone else who is trying to improve their lifestyle. Teaming up and offering some of your time to help others can make your lifestyle change easier and help to keep you on track.

Cllr Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public health and Sport said: “This year Stoptober is part of the Coventry Health Challenge and being in good health is more important than ever, especially with the COVID-19 virus still circulating. Smoking damages your lungs, leading to respiratory conditions including bronchitis and pneumonia and can also worsen asthma, so quitting smoking permanently is a crucial step to improving health for the long-term.

“Stoptober is a great opportunity for anyone to quit and by completing the 28-day challenge you are five times more likely to give up for good.

“We have the fantastic Healthy Lifestyles Service in Coventry, who are dedicated to helping residents combat lifestyle challenges, including quitting smoking and I would encourage anyone wanting to take on Stoptober to access and make the most of the free support on offer.

“The Coventry Health Challenge is here to help you, even small changes will really make a difference to your health so get involved today.”

Calvin Holman, service director at Healthy Lifestyles Coventry, said:

“We know that smoking is an important contributory factor in a range of diseases, including heart disease, respiratory disease and a number of cancers. Our service is here for people who want to give up and you’re actually four times more likely to quit for good with the help of a coach. 

Our service is free and you can receive support from the comfort of your home. Our coaches will work with you on a one to one basis – over the phone, texts or through video chat. We can also provide access to nicotine replacement therapy to support you to quit.

Stoptober is a great time to decide to quit, and we’re here to help people do that when they’re ready to make that move.”

You can find out more information about the Government’s Better Health campaign.

The HLS live Zoom event on 1 October can be accessed from 1:30pm, Zoom id: 89594482991

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