Greater Manchester football clubs unite for Stoptober, as new research reveals three quarters of fans want to quit

Greater Manchester football clubs unite for Stoptober, as new research reveals three quarters of fans want to quit

Football clubs, players and commentators from across the country are uniting this weekend to show their support for fans looking to quit smoking as Stoptober – the 28 day smokefree challenge – kicks off on 1 October 2017.

The call comes from football clubs across the country as a new survey reveals that three quarters of football fans who smoke would like to quit (76%), increasing to 83% for the more avid fans who attend at least three football games per season. A strong desire (63%) has also been uncovered from fans for their club to help them kick the habit.

The support from football clubs will be paramount to helping fans embark on the quit smoking challenge as nearly half (48%) believe that the atmosphere around watching football gives them the urge to smoke and 50% would like the option to buy quitting aids at their club.

The research also uncovered football fans smoking habits; with almost two thirds (62%) lighting up on the way to a match.

To mark the start of Stoptober, one of the best things clubs could do to help their fans quit smoking is start winning, supporters being twice as likely to smoke more when their team is having a tough season (30% compared to 14%).

But even if their team isn’t winning, Stoptober can help people get through their quitting journey with lots of tips, advice and help with cravings. Stoptober offers a range of free support including an app, daily emails, Facebook Messenger and lots of encouragement from the Stoptober online community on Facebook. People can try quitting using medication (including nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum) or e-cigarettes – and seek expert support via face-to-face advice from local stop smoking services. Those who use stop smoking aids and who get face-to-face support from their local stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit successfully.

To help encourage fans take part in Stoptober this year, football pundit Graeme Souness is featuring in a new short film which sees him giving smokers an inspiring pre-quitting dressing room talk which can be downloaded here.

Graeme Souness explains why he’s calling time on smokers and encouraging them to sign up to Stoptober ahead of the 1 October; “It was the affect smoking had on my parents which made me want to encourage people to be Smokefree. My parents were heavy smokers and sadly my mother died at just 60 from emphysema which was directly related to her smoking. I witnessed the period leading up to her death and it was hard to see. There is no grey area –  smoking kills. Stoptober is here to help support people through their own stop smoking challenge – it’s not too late for anyone, quitting now, regardless of how long you have smoked, can make a huge difference to your quality of life.

“Quitting smoking isn’t easy but stick at it! Stoptober is for 28 days and it’s based on research that if you quit for 28 days you are 5 times more likely to quit for good – that’s a promising stat. Football clubs are at the heart of their local community and it is great to see so many getting behind Stoptober to encourage and support fans wishing to quit smoking once and for all. You don’t need to do it alone, with Stoptober there are thousands of other people all quitting together motivating each other through to 28 days smokefree. Search ‘Stoptober’ online to find out more.”

Stoptober has inspired over one million people to make a quit attempt to-date. This year, 28 football clubs are supporting Stoptober including; Spurs, Newcastle United, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Bolton Wanderers, Watford, Southend United, Rotherham United, Derby County and many more who are recording messages of support for their fans and providing on-site quit advice at matches taking place over the first weekend of October**.

Sarah Price, Population Health Director at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said: “In Greater Manchester smoking rates are higher in men than women – 20% compared to 16%. A huge number of men are football fans and that’s why we’re really pleased to see so many football clubs from the heart of our communities rallying together to encourage their fans to get on board with Stoptober this year. Throughout the month a whole host of football players, managers and the clubs themselves will be providing direct support to their fans, so there is no better time to stop smoking and kick the habit once and for all.”

A spokesperson from Wigan Athletic said:Wigan Athletic is a proud supporter of Stoptober – the annual 28-day quit smoking challenge. For anyone thinking of giving cigarettes the boot for good, we’d urge you to search ‘Stoptober’ online to find out more. Quit for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to stay quit. It’s never too late to give up, so good luck to those giving it a go this year – we’re behind you!”

Jayne Jackson from the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust said: Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Bolton Wanderers Community Trust are proud to support the Stoptober Campaign. We hope that all of our supporters will help to spread the word and support any friends or relatives to stop smoking this October.”

Wendy Noble from the Oldham Athletic Community Trust said: Oldham are thrilled to be supporting this year’s Stoptober campaign. People are encouraged to give up smoking for 28 days throughout the month of October, so we’re helping spread the message of the tons of support available for people this year. If people are thinking of taking part, search Stoptober online to find out more & massive good luck wishes to all the Oldham fans planning to take part this year.”  


Stoptober is back for a sixth year, having driven over a million and a half quit attempts to date. It starts on the Sunday 1 October and is based on research that if you can quit for 28 days, you are 5 times more likely to stop for good – no matter how well your team does this season.

For more information, search ‘Stoptober’ and find all the support you need to quit smoking.


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