SMOKERS in East Sussex are being urged to join the 1 million across the UK who quit during the coronavirus lockdown and stop smoking during Stoptober.

The annual stop smoking challenge returns this October, and smokers across the county are being encouraged to put their lungs first, strengthen their immune system and breathe easier by giving quitting a go.

Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, tailored support is available through your local stop smoking service provided by One You East Sussex (OYES).

OYES are currently offering help and advice through telephone appointments, which can be just as effective as face to face sessions when it comes to helping people quit.

Darrell Gale, East Sussex Director of Public Health, said: “If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you.

“Smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and experiencing more severe symptoms. Stopping smoking can significantly improve your health in ways you might not expect, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease.

“Stoptober is the ideal time to get the help required so you can kick the habit, and with the free support offered by One You East Sussex you are four times more likely to quit for good.”

The OYES team can provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and a Facebook support group has been set up where smokers can engage with others, ask advisors questions and support one another through the campaign.

In addition, a dedicated email campaign will provide information to help smokers who relapse, as well as offer encouragement and highlight the benefits experienced during the first month to six weeks after quitting.

While official figures show smoking rates in East Sussex have been declining, 13.7 per cent of adults in the county still smoke. Across East Sussex, smoking rates are highest in Hastings where 20.3 per cent of adults smoke, which is significantly higher than the England average of 14.5 per cent.

Wealden has the lowest estimated smoking rate of 10.1 per cent of adults lighting up, and the percentage of smokers in Rother (12.5 per cent), Lewes (13.2 per cent) and Eastbourne (14.2 per cent) are also below the national average. However, despite these lower than average figures, there were still just under 1,000 deaths annually attributable to smoking in East Sussex in the three years between 2016-2018.

Stopping smoking has immediate and lasting benefits to health. After 20 minutes the pulse rate starts to return to normal; after 8 hours harmful carbon monoxide in the blood is reduced by half and is completely flushed out by the body after 48 hours. After 1 year the risk of suffering a heart attack has halved compared to that of a smoker. And research suggests that people who have quit for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke.

People can get their personal quit plan by visiting the One You East Sussex website, emailing the team at or calling 01323 404600.