Take strength in the numbers if you’re planning to quit smoking in 2016 - thousands have proved it can be done

There's help on hand if you want to quit smoking in Herts

There's help on hand if you want to quit smoking in Herts - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Delighted health watchdogs have totted up the number of smokers who vowed to wave goodbye to the weed during this year’s Stoptober campaign and managed to see it through - and say nearly 4,000 people successfully stubbed out cigarettes during the 28-day challenge.

That means that the Herts County Council drive to support those who wanted to kick the habit scored the second highest sign up rate in the region and the sixth best in the country.

It scored even better with the numbers of people asking for its bespoke app to help quitters stay strong - it had the highest regional take-up and was second highest across the nation.

The county’s stop smoking service team was on hand with advice and support throughout the month, as well as hitting the streets with a series of roadshows.

They also encouraged football fans to show cigarettes the red card through events at Stevenage FC and Watford FC.

Stoptober was supported by some of the nation’s top comedians, including Bill Bailey, Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rhod Gilbert, who sent out personal supportive messages throughout the month to anyone who signed up.

Councillor Teresa Heritage, County Hall’s cabinet member for public health, said: “It is great news that so many people in Hertfordshire are stopping smoking, congratulations to everyone who took part.

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“The health benefits of stopping smoking are almost immediate, including reduced risk of heart disease, easier breathing and better circulation. There are real financial benefits too, as quitting will save the average smoker almost £2,000 a year.

“There are almost 160,000 adults in Hertfordshire who continue to put their health at risk by smoking. Research shows that with support you are four times more likely to make a successful quit attempt, so I’d urge anyone thinking about giving up to contact us today. We have a range of support options and will help you to quit even if you are using electronic cigarettes.”

NHS and Hertfordshire County Council Stop Smoking Services are available all year round and provide free, local stop smoking support to anyone who lives or works in Hertfordshire. Text SMOKEFREE to 80818, call 0800 389 3 998 or visit www.hertsdirect.org/stopsmoking for help to quit.

For information about other health initiatives in Hertfordshire, visit www.hertsdirect.org/healthinherts.