Stoptober is just days away and health experts are urging smokers across Lancashire and South Cumbria to quit.

Stoptober is a national campaign, which encourages people to quit during October. It is supported locally by Lancashire County Council, which is working in partnership with council and NHS organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria, to improve health and care for local people.

County Councillor Shaun Turner, lead member for health and adult services at Lancashire County Council, said: "Smoking kills and is one of the biggest preventable causes of ill health.

"Although the number of people that smoke in Lancashire has reduced in recent years, over 16% of the population smokes.

"That's still too many and we need more smokers to quit.

"If you want to stop, you can contact the Quit Squad, where you can get expert support from trained advisors that's tailored to suit you. Quit Squad also provides a range of free nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and gum, to reduce the cravings.

"Research shows you're four times more likely to quit with support from this service."

Although it is best for people to quit with the help of the stop smoking service, some people still struggle. E-cigarettes are an alternative that can help people who are finding it difficult to quit.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for the county council, added: "There has been a lot of talk recently about e-cigarettes in the media.

"People should always try the stop smoking service, but e-cigarettes can help as an alternative way to quit.

"Using e-cigarettes isn't completely risk-free, but they carry only a fraction of the risk of smoking a normal cigarette.

"Having said that, we'd only recommend them as a tool to help people stop smoking. We'd never recommend people take up vaping if they don't currently vape or smoke."

Mark Spencer, primary care lead for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, and a Fleetwood-based GP, said: "Stopping smoking is one of the most important things that anyone can do to improve their health, and yet it can be one of the hardest habits to kick.

"Help is available. I fully understand that people smoke for all sorts of reasons.

"The motivation to stop often accompanies a desire to try to lead a healthier life, to look forward to the future and to enjoy life with children and grandchildren. Take control of your own life and your own future. Give up the fags."

People who want to quit should contact Quit Squad, Lancashire's stop smoking service, to get the help they need to stop. The county council and NHS aim to reduce the percentage of people who smoke in Lancashire to 12% by 2022.

Quit Squad, which is commissioned and funded by the county council and delivered by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, gives people support to change their smoking behaviour and nicotine replacement therapies to help them beat the cravings.

Anyone wanting to quit smoking should visit the Quit Squad website, or call 0800 328 6297.

For more information about Stoptober, visit