PHE celebrates decade of kicking the habit with Stoptober campaign

The achievements of Public Health England's Stoptober campaign, which marks its 10th anniversary this month, are showcased in a new infographic animation devised by Freuds as part of this year’s iteration of the behaviour-change initiative.

Images from the new Stoptober campaign
Images from the new Stoptober campaign

Stoptober launched in 2012 and over the past decade has resulted in more than two million smokers in England kicking the habit.

This key message in the animation is accompanied by a warning that there remains much to do, with smoking still killing some 75,000 people in England every year and costing the NHS billions. The UK’s six million smokers are urged to “join the thousands who’ve already quit smoking with Stoptober.”





The latest campaign is focused on the benefits of stopping smoking, such as being able to breathe more easily, and saving money.

This comes amid concern at current levels of smoking, with almost half of smokers (45 per cent) smoking more since the first lockdown began, according to a survey conducted by Opinium for Public Health England last month.

The new campaign highlights the free support and guidance signposted online.

PR activity is centred on the new survey findings as well as the infographic and case studies of smokers who have quit, in an attempt to inspire others to try to stop smoking.

The campaign is also being supported by activity across social, radio, video on demand, online video and print channels.

A number of agencies are involved in the campaign: Freuds (PR); M&C Saatchi (brand development, advertising and creative); Wavemaker (media strategy); OmniGOV (media buying); and Flipside (app development).



There are two phases to this year’s Stoptober. Between now and the end of September, messaging will be aimed at smokers to showcase the positive impacts of quitting and resources available to help them. From the start of October, messaging will support those taking part in Stoptober, stressing the health benefits of stopping smoking.

Last year, PHE brought together a range of its long-running behaviour-change campaigns, including Stoptober, under the banner of 'Better Health'.

Alexia Clifford, marketing director at Public Health England, said: “Stoptober is now celebrating its tenth year and has encouraged over 2.3 million quit attempts. The campaign is an exceptional example of how marketing activity can play a key role in addressing some of the biggest health challenges of our time.”

She added: “There are a wide range of innovative digital tools available on the Better Health – Quit Smoking website to support those considering making an all-important quit attempt this year, including the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook Messenger bot, online Personal Quit Plan tool, and several others. With multiple resources available to meet a variety of individual needs, there really is no better time to quit smoking.”


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