Stoptober to Swaptober

Quit Smoking | 01 October 2017
Emma Carneyby Emma Carney

If you’re anything like me, you will be rather glum that Summer is over and Autumn is upon us. Seriously, where does the time go? All isn’t bad in the world though as I’ve grown rather fond of my Autumn wardrobe over the years and Oktoberfest is always something I look forward to. It isn’t just a season for indulgence though. It can also be a time to make positive steps towards improving your lifestyle habits like stopping smoking. Events such as the memorably named “Stoptoberin, you guessed it, October, and Lung Cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) awareness month in November, certainly make Autumn the time to prepare yourself for the seasonal indulgences of Christmas or giving those “new year, new you” activities a head start.

Stoptober is a challenge from Public Health England which launched in 2012 to encourage people to make an attempt to quit smoking. It is based on the knowledge that if you can cease smoking for a full 28 day period, you are five times more likely to quit smoking long term. The UK government provides tools and information with further ideas on how you can take part over on their page.

Swaptober is a term coined by the vaping community to describe those who make a quit smoking attempt using a vape or E cigarette as a nicotine substitute during this period. And it appears to work for many – the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 17.2% of adults in the UK smoked in 2015, down from 20.1% in 2010. With the recent controversial changes in UK vaping laws it will be interesting to see how that figure changes but it does pose the question – why do so many lapsed quitters find success in stopping smoking long term using vapes and e cigarettes?

From personal experience, which I chronicle in Diary of a Switcher, I personally found that being able to swap my cigarettes for an e-cigarette was the perfect solution to what was becoming a huge problem in my life. I didn’t just like smoking, I liked the routine and lifestyle that came with it.  As much as you can tell a smoker that they will gain minutes of their life when they quit, they can immediately equate that to “but I’ll also be losing 25 minutes of cigarette breaks a day, and you have no idea how much I hate that job and need those breaks”.  Or another great excuse: “what do you mean I will put on weight if I stop smoking? No thank you!”. What vaping allowed me to do was keep my old routines and choose a healthier option while I made those extreme lifestyle changes, and I am forever thankful for being given that opportunity.

Are any of you currently switching or planning to make the switch? If so, make sure to check out our quit smoking section for more help and advice, and of course let us know how you are doing.

Happy Swaptober.

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