More than a million work days are lost each year in Yorkshire and The Humber to smoking-related sick days, according to new figures.
Leading employers are supporting this year’s Stoptober quit smoking campaign because smoking is bad for business.
Smoking currently costs the economy Yorkshire and The Humber a massive £1.4 billion productivity each year due to smoking-related sick days, which alone costs £109 million a year.
Over 250 companies and organisations, including Yorkshire-based Asda, are getting behind the annual Stoptober campaign, offering support to over one million employees across the country.
Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England, begins today and is a major opportunity for employers to help their staff to quit smoking and encourage them to live healthier and happier lives.
Dr Cathy Read, from Public Health England’s Yorkshire and the Humber centre said: “Quitting smoking is one of the most significant health improvements a person can make and it is encouraging to see so many businesses and employers supporting Stoptober to help make their work place happier and healthier places for their staff.
“There are still 8 million smokers in England and two thirds saying they want to quit - around 636,000 potential quitters across Yorkshire and The Humber.
Stoptober provides the perfect opportunity for employers and staff to work together towards quitting smoking for good. The range of free support available and collective efforts of colleagues and friends will help smokers complete the 28 day challenge.”
Top British comedians including Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson, Jason Bent and Dr Bob) and Andi Osho are providing a touch of humour to help the thousands of people who have already signed up to take part, to get through 28 days without smoking.
Evidence shows that if a smoker can go 28 days without a cigarette, they are five times more likely to stay permanently smoke-free.
New free resources are available for employers to support staff with the 28-day quit attempt.
Everyone joining Stoptober can choose from a range of tools to suit them, including a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app, text support with daily updates, quitting advice and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people through social media. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online and sign up.