There are fewer smokers in East Sussex, with a 6.8 per cent drop since 2011, but there are still 62,684 people sparking up across the county.
The figures were revealed as part of Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign, which will encourage smokers to give up the habit for good.
In East Sussex 14.1 per cent of the population smoke, compared to 13.7 per cent in the south east, and 14.9 per cent for England as a whole.
Neighbouring Brighton and Hove however, has 42,422 smokers – 18 per cent of the population.
Last year, nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully, which is the equivalent to 1,069 smokers each day – one every 80 seconds.
As part of the Stoptober campaign, Sue Knight, 50, from Brighton, has spoken out about giving up smoking with the help of an e-cigerette.
She said: “I’d been smoking since I was in my teens and had been thinking about giving up for a while.
“I wanted to look after my health. When I heard about the Stoptober campaign I thought I should give it a go.
“I bought myself an e-cigarette and quickly found that I didn’t want cigarettes or tobacco anymore.
“I started on a high nicotine concentration, and over time I slowly lowered it until January when I managed to get down to no nicotine at all.
“Since I quit, my husband has also stopped smoking – our children and grandchildren are delighted and were a big motivation in encouraging me to quit. “I feel so much better now that I’ve stopped smoking - my teeth and fingers aren’t stained anymore, and I feel a real sense of pride from what I’ve achieved.
“There are so many different quit methods out there, I found that e-cigarettes worked for me. Why not give them a try and see if they’ll be the thing that helps you quit?”
How to give up
Research from public Health England showed of the 967,011 smokers in the south east, six in 10 want to quit but most try to quit using willpower alone (or ‘cold turkey’) despite this being the least effective method.
The most successful quit attempts use a combination of stop smoking support methods, including expert help from local stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids.
In 2017-18, half (51 per cent) of smokers who got this package of support managed to quit and among those who used an e-cigarette in their quit attempt, the success rate was up to 63 per cent.
TV star joins campaign
Joining the Stoptober campaign this year is TV presenter Jeremy Kyle, who recently gave up smoking after 35 years.
He said: “I was a 20-a day-smoker for most of my life and am proud to say I quit smoking earlier this year. I’ve tried many times in the past to quit but nothing really worked for me. This year, however, the time was right and I wanted to do it for me. With the death of my mother, having cancer myself and becoming a grandad this year, I was determined and I’m so happy I’m now smokefree. I’m not going to pretend it is easy, but I knew my time smoking was up.
“The thing that is really helping me stay smokefree is vaping. I’m currently on the lowest nicotine strength and will then come off the e-cigarette altogether when the time is right for me. Since quitting I’ve learned just how important using support is and for people not to go ‘cold turkey’ – that certainly didn’t work for me in the past. If I can quit, I honestly believe anyone can quit if you just have the right support, and that’s what Stoptober is there to give you and I want people to know that and to do it this year.”
What is Stoptober?
Stoptober is based on research that if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you are five times more likely to quit for good.
A new ‘Personal Quit Plan’ will recommend a range of options to smokers including face-to-face support, nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gum or inhalers, and e-cigarettes.
To take part in Stoptober this year, and to find out more about the support available, visit: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/be-healthier/quit-smoking/stoptober/