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Comedians bring 'touch of British humour' to Stoptober

The third annual Stoptober campaign launched last night (September 8) with a comedy sketch featuring popular comedians Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin and Andi Osbo

Public Health England (PHE) has enlisted the help of top British comedians for this year's  Stoptober campaign.

The third annual smoking initiative launched with a three-minute comedy sketch on ITV last night (September 8), featuring Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin and Andi Osho. PHE will also be sending "comedic entertainers" into communities across England as part of a nationwide roadshow to encourage people to share their humorous experiences about quitting.

The comedians would bring "a touch of the British sense of humour" to help quitters during this "difficult and daunting challenge", it said.


More than 7,000 pharmacies have already pledged their support for the campaign, PHE said. All pharmacies taking part will receive a free toolkit including posters, leaflets and a window sticker.

PHE director of health and wellbeing Kevin Fenton said pharmacy teams were "ideally placed" to support smokers trying to quit and the campaign was a "great conversation starter".


"People will have access to humorous content, hints and tips and the support of knowing that thousands of people are also taking part in the challenge," he said.


More than 5,200 people have signed up to the campaign, according to the  Stoptober website. The 28-day programme includes digital content such as jokes and tips, along with a mobile phone app to provide daily motivational text messages, PHE said.


Last year, three quarters of all community pharmacies in England took part in the initiative, which played "a big part" in its success, PHE said. Sixty five per cent of the 250,000 people that took part were able to successfully quit for 28 days, and PHE said it was hoping to get even more people involved this year.

Pharmacists can order a toolkit by calling 030 0123 1019.


Last week, C+D reported that Public Health Wales was running another smoking cessation initiative alongside Stoptober this year to try to target as many smokers as possible.


According to statistics released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) last month, the number of people using NHS smoking cessation services in England fell for the second year in a row in 2013-14.  


Do you think Stoptober's comedy angle will encourage more smokers to take part? 

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