HUNDREDS of thousands of people across Somerset are being urged to end their relationships.

But far from being encouraged to severe relationships with their loved ones, they are being offered help to break ties with tobacco.

More than 623,000 people across the south west are still smoking - and the 2019 Stoptober initiative aims to help them break the habit.

Stoptober, which launches today (September 19), offers practical advice to those keen to give up smoking.

Being smoke free is now the norm but despite smoking rates being lower than ever before, thousands still smoke across the South West.

Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging all smokers to join in with Stoptober - the nation’s biggest quit attempt which gets underway on October 1 - by providing them with the support and information they need to “split up” with smoking this Stoptober.

Russ Moody, health and wellbeing manager for PHE South West, said: “We know that Stoptober provides a good opportunity for people thinking about quitting to take the plunge and go for it.

“For anyone thinking of quitting, it’s important to remember that it is much easier to quit with the right support and by doing it in Stoptober you can be confident that you are not doing it alone which we know is a factor for success.

“There are a number of resources out there, specialist stop smoking services, free personal quit plans and a smokefree app that helps you to track your progress, see how much you are saving and get daily support.

“E-cigarettes are also a great way to fight cravings. By quitting you will feel healthier, save money and protect your family.”

Amanda Fraser, 31, from Cornwall, said she started smoking very young.

“I started smoking around two cigarettes a day at 11 years old; by 26 it was 20 a day," she said.

“I considered cigarettes a reward and never thought I would quit until I came across e-cigarettes.

“I worked the nicotine levels down from 18mg and, when I found out I was pregnant, dropped to 0mg.

"Initially, this was difficult but within a week, I felt great.

“Smoking made me feel loved and offered me comfort. Now looking back, I feel betrayed like it was a big lie from a two-faced friend.”

How many people are still smoking?

Adult smoking prevalence data (Aged 18+):


England 14.4%

South West 13.9%

BANES 11.7%

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole 14.6%

Bristol 16.3%

Cornwall 13.8%

Devon 13.4%

Dorset 12.4%

Gloucestershire 12.1%

North Somerset 12.0%

Plymouth 17.0%

Somerset 15.9%

South Gloucestershire 10.6%

Swindon 17.7%

Torbay 16.0%

Wiltshire 12.3%

Stoptober has supported more than 1.9 million people on their quit journey to date – if a smoker can make it to 28 days smokefree, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

For more information, visit the Public Health England Facebook page, at

The scheme’s free quitting support includes the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails, a Personal Quit Plan and Stoptober online communities.