Stop smoking campaigns
Last updated 14 January 2021
This page contains resources and information for professionals who are supporting smokers to quit. If you are a smoker wanting to quit, the Today is the Day website has information and support.
New: As January is traditionally a popular time for smokers to make a quit attempt, ASH has developed an extra New Year oriented communications toolkit. This contains materials for local authorities to use to support smokers to quit around the New Year and to access their local stop smoking services. It is designed to support local councils not receiving tailored support from their regions.
COVID-19 and smoking
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection which can cause life threatening damage to the heart and lungs. A small percentage of those contracting COVID-19 suffer serious symptoms or die, but the risks of COVID-19 rise with age, and for those with underlying medical conditions, many of which are caused, or made worse, by smoking.
The evidence is clear that:
- Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death, killing nearly 80,000 people a year in England.
- For every person who dies from smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Current smokers are also 30% more likely to be admitted to hospital.
This is significant health information, which smokers have a right to know, and they need to be supported to take steps to quit or abstain from smoking. See our FAQs for more information on COVID-19 and smoking.
Public Health England guidance states that: “On the available evidence, we advise:
- if you smoke, you generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infection and of more severe symptoms once infected. COVID-19 symptoms may, therefore, be more severe if you smoke.
- stopping smoking will bring immediate benefits to your health, including if you have an existing smoking-related disease. This is particularly important for both you and for our NHS at a time of intense pressure on the health service.”
Supporting the Today Is The Day campaign
The success rates of smokers who try to quit is at its highest but fewer smokers are trying to quit than in 2007, when numbers peaked. Now is a teachable moment and we must not waste this opportunity.
As healthcare professionals there has never been a more important time to support smokers to quit:
- to improve their health and wellbeing and help them stay out of hospital
- to protect others from secondhand smoke exposure in the home.
- to reduce their financial outgoings at a time when unemployment is rising and many smokers will be suffering significant cuts in their incomes.
The evidence shows that COVID-19 is increasing smokers’ desire to quit. You have a key role to play in helping them take the next step and make a quit attempt, using the most effective methods to increase their chances of success.
The communications toolkit developed by ASH, Breathe 2025, Fresh and partners is designed to help you. Email email@example.com for the ‘Today Is The Day’ communications toolkit with key messages, template press releases and content suggestions.
You can use the Today Is The Day messages to help promote your local stop smoking support and ensure smokers are aware of the options available to them. Use the hashtag #TodayIsTheDay on Twitter and promote information about local support through Facebook pages to reach smokers and other local healthcare professionals.
Click here to download the evaluation of the Today Is The Day Campaign.
Quit For Covid: Today Is the Day Campaign Case Study Resources for Local Areas to Use
We have created an updated supporters pack which is centred around 8 inspiring case studies outlining their successful quit stories over the last few months. Thanks go to Breathe2025, Fresh and Yorkshire Smokefree for sourcing the case studies. We’re still keen to get further case studies especial from more diverse backgrounds and for local areas to develop their own case studies. If you can help please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
The new resources for the Today is the Day campaign builds on the Quit for Covid activity, looking ahead to recovery from the pandemic and helping build population health resilience as we head towards winter.
The pack contains a range of media for online and offline use, including:
- A3 posters (both internal and professional print)
- Digital banners for e-newsletters and websites
- Pull up banners for physical spaces
- Email signatures
- Social media graphics
Download the pack here.
See how local authorities are adapting their stop smoking services to continue providing specialist support for smokers.
Article 5.3 guidance: responding to the tobacco industry in the light of COVID-19
Big Tobacco is using the COVID-19 outbreak to try and engage public authorities and promote itself as a socially responsible industry.
Under Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) public authorities are required to protect public health policies with respect to tobacco from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
ASH has developed guidance to advise public bodies on how best to respond to approaches and offers from the tobacco industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- See the Today is the Day website for information about where smokers can access support to quit
- The NHS Smokefree website which includes information on support to quit, as well as free tools such as the Personal Quit Plan as well as daily support via email or Facebook messenger.
- NCSCT guidance on protecting smokers from COVID-19
- ASH press release: A million people have stopped smoking since the COVID pandemic hit Britain
- SFAC press release: Around 300,000 smokers have #QuitforCovid: Over half a million more have tried to quit and 2.4 million have cut down