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  1. ITV Report

New national campaign urges smokers to quit

Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A national campaign urging smokers to quit for a month is to be launched by the Government.

Britain's eight million smokers will be encouraged to kick the habit for 28 days from October 1 as part of Stoptober, the Department of Health announced.

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies told ITV News it was the first time that the Government had launched a "mass quit attempt".

The initiative, backed by Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation, will involve television and radio adverts, a daily messaging service and roadshows around the country.

Those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free, according to research.

Smoking accounts for one in four cancer deaths and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases so it's vital that work continues to support smokers to quit.

Breaking the addiction is difficult so new and innovative campaigns such as this are hugely important.

– Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control

Maureen Talbot, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, added: "Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your own health as well as those you love and live with.

"About two thirds of smokers say they want to quit, so Stoptober provides a great opportunity to join thousands of people in the same situation and ditch the cigarettes for good."