Smokers in Swindon are encouraged to make the most of the support available during Stoptober and take the first steps to a healthier life without cigarettes. 

On average, somebody in England decides to quit smoking every 80 seconds and, with so much help, advice and guidance on offer, experts say Stoptober is the perfect opportunity to give up for good.

Since its inception, the annual, month-long campaign has supported nearly two million people to ditch cigarettes and it is hoped that the numbers will continue to rise as the 2018 drive gets under way. 

TV doctor Sarah Jarvis, said: "I see many people who want to quit but far too many try without support and they end up going back to smoking after a short period. 

"Stop smoking aids and face-to-face support from local stop smoking services are proven methods that help thousands of people to quit each year." 

The dangers of smoking - an increased risk of developing serious health problems, such as various forms of cancer, stroke and heart disease - are well known and the number of people who now use cigarettes is falling.

Since 2008, smoking prevalence in Swindon and the rest of the South West has dropped massively from 21 per cent to 13 per cent. 

Stoptober, which offers smokers a supported route to a life without cigarettes, as well as their own Personal Quit Plan, is often credited as one of the main driving forces behind the reduction. 

New for 2018, the Personal Quit Plans can now be tailored according to each person's own tobacco dependency levels, meaning smokers get a support plan that is right for them. 

Ten-a-day smoker James Ardron from Bristol decided to kick his habit of 25 years when he and wife Angela thought about starting a family. 

He said: "Since quitting, my wife and I have a daughter and I want to be healthier for her. I've saved more than £1,000 since stopping and we want to put that money towards her future."

James also gave advice for anyone taking on the Stoptober challenge.

He said: "Set yourself small targets. They quickly pass and then you're at the next one. A month soon becomes three, then six and then a year. 

"Setting these small goals really helped me and wasn't as daunting as setting larger ones.

"Good luck to everyone quitting for Stoptober." 

For more information and to download a Personal Quit Plan, click here or visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober