Reading Stoptober Roadshow Offers Free Support for Smokers to Kick the Habit!

THE COUNCIL is encouraging smokers to come to the Stoptober Roadshow in Broad Street on Saturday 24th September and join a national 28 day quit smoking challenge.

The one day event will run from 10am to 4pm in Broad Street (Opposite the Oracle and M&S entrance) and features a range of entertainment under this year’s 1970s theme of ‘Don’t Smoke, Blow Bubbles’, with music, costumes, and giant bubble displays.

Stop-smoking advisors will be on hand to offer people free support to quit. People can sign up to the Stoptober 28 day challenge and get access to a free 12 week support programme.

The Berkshire Tobacco Control Alliance will be at the event with B.W.Y. Canine sniffer dogs to raise the issue of illegal tobacco and the harm it causes our community.

The event aims to build on the continued success of the Smokefreelife Berkshire service, which has seen excellent take up throughout the county, with Reading seeing some of the highest success rates for people quitting smoking. In the last year, the local service supported around 914 smokers in Reading to quit and the town is below the national average for its smoking population.

Stuart Kearney, who works in Reading, had been smoking for about 30 years when he decided to quit for good last Stoptober. Stuart found that the Stoptober app was extremely helpful; it gave him encouragement and made him laugh.

His advice to anyone wanting to quit smoking this Stoptober is to make sure they are clear in their own mind as to why they want to quit. “It’s important to look at your reasons for giving up smoking and to know exactly what you want to achieve by quitting. While it’s helpful to give up for others – like I gave up for my kids – it’s more important to want it for yourself.”

Since he quit smoking last year, Stuart has noticed great personal improvements, as well as saving money: “After I stopped smoking, I really noticed how much my breathing had improved; I could be active for far longer without getting out of breath.”

But when it comes to what he enjoys most about being a non-smoker, Stuart says it has to be the feeling of freedom. He explains, “You don’t realise until you quit smoking just how much of a slave to cigarettes you are. Not being tied to cigarettes is an amazing feeling.”

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health, said:

“There are a lot of smokers out there who really want to quit and they know the benefit from stopping. Quitting not only adds years to your life, but it also greatly improves the chance of a disease-free old age.

“Stoptober is the perfect time to motivate people to give up smoking. There is evidence to suggest smokers who take part are 5 times more likely to remain smoke free. The positive results we are seeing from the local service shows they really are supporting people with their goal of quitting.”

“If people are interested in quitting and want to know more, I’d encourage them to come along to the roadshow in Broad Street on 24th September and find out more. If you can’t get to the event you can also visit one of the many service hubs in Reading, call 0800 622 6360, text QUIT to 66777 or visit

People can sign up to take part in Stoptober here

Notes for Editors:

In relation to quit success rates, a measure of service quality, the Berkshire services occupy the six top places in the South East region. In the last year, Reading had a higher than national average quit rate of 65% compared to the regional average of 56% and the national rate of 51%.

Smokefreelife Berkshire aims to reach out to people in Reading and offer free Nicotine Replacement Therapy products and professional support in their journey to quit smoking. Five Unitary Authorities (excludes Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead) in Berkshire have a shared arrangement for the delivery of the service, which offers smokers help to quit at a wide range of venues across Berkshire.

Find out more at

The Stoptober campaign is a government initiative to reduce smoking in the UK and was launched in 2012 to motivate the UK’s 10 million smokers to stop smoking for 28 days. Current research shows that people who stop smoking during this time are 5 times more likely to remain smoke free.

While smoking rates have declined over past decades, smoking is still the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature deaths in the country – accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths in England a year. One in every two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking related disease unless they quit.

For more information on B.W.Y. Canines sniffer dogs visit:


Victoria Nickless

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