Stoptober: an effective way for smokers to quit for 28 days, with five times more chance to stop permanently
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Dutch Cancer Society, Prevention, Netherlands
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A849
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Background and challenges to implementation:
In 2016, based on the concept of Stoptober in the United Kingdom the third Stoptober campaign started in the Netherlands. This campaign is organised by the Dutch Ministry of Health & Welfare, the Dutch Cancer Society and other non-governmental organisations. Stoptober encourages smokers to quit for 28 days in October. Smokers who quit smoking for 28 days are 5 times more likely to stop permanently. The burden to quit also becomes lower because smokers are encouraged to stop for a manageable period of 28 days. This period is however long enough to change attitude towards quitting positively, and behaviour permanently. In 2016, the goal was set on 50.000 participants.

Intervention or response:
The campaign consisted of several communication tools. Besides traditional communication tools like radio and TV, Stoptober focused on social media and online tools, like the Stoptober application, the website and the interaction with (managed by the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction). To improve publicity, the campervan tour was further improved and healthcare professionals were asked to promote Stoptober to their patients. Lastly, Stoptober was focused on improving the duration of participation and the counselling of the participants. The budget of Stoptober was €600.000.

Results and lessons learnt:
53.303 people participated in 2016. 92% participated because they wanted to stop permanently, instead of only 28 days. 54% of the participants came in contact with Stoptober through radio and TV, 20% through social media and 12% through friends and family. ±140.000 people visited the website, while the application was downloaded ±48.000 times. 70% (±37.000) of the total participants achieved to quit smoking for 28 days. Of those, 73% still stopped after 3 months.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Despite of a relatively low budget, Stoptober reached its targeted population. Stoptober is effective in changing people´s attitude towards quitting positively and supporting smokers to quit for 28 days.

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