8:20pm Friday 14th September 2012
By Matthew Edwards
SMOKERS were given a helping hand to stamp out their habit as an innovative campaign took to the streets.
Stoptober, the first ever mass quit attempt for smokers, was in Swindon yesterday offering advice to shoppers.
The campaign, which takes place from October 1 and is backed by Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, is the first 28-day quit attempt of its kind to encourage the nation’s eight million smokers to make the step towards stopping.
Research shows those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free, and a local success story, who gave up thanks to the stop smoking service in Swindon, was on hand yesterday to give his tips on how to stop.
Nick Sheppard, 46, of Walcot gave up smoking at Christmas after also overcoming a drug and alcohol addiction a year ago.
He now works as a full-time volunteer helping other addicts to quit and said he would not have been able to stop smoking if it wasn’t for the support.
He said: “I got off an alcohol and drug addiction a year ago and about Christmas time I decided to stop smoking for health reasons.
“It was difficult but the support I got from engaging with the local doctor and Steph at the Local Stop Smoking Service really helped.
“I have tried in the past to quit and found it very difficult but I would recommend this support to others. I now work full-time mentoring and supporting addicts to quit and helping others is hugely rewarding for me.
“Initiatives like Stoptober are great because they help you to set goals and timescales.
“My motto these days is that it is never too late to start living, so whatever age you are don’t give up on giving up.”
Swindon has a team of health ambassadors who are ordinary people, based in the community.
Health ambassadors work with individuals who need that little bit of extra help to take those first step towards improving their health.
Yesterday’s event was a success, with shoppers signing up to the campaign and writing messages of support on the giant red Stoptober wheel which is doing a tour of the country.
Event manager Beccy Mellars said: “The day has gone very well. We have had people talking to us and putting some nice messages of support on the wheel.”
For more information on the Stoptober event visit www.
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