The sixth edition of Stoptober is upon us. Running throughout October, the 28-day event was set up by Public Health England to encourage people to stop smoking from the start of October.
To find out how successful Stoptober has been over the years, Nicotinell, manufacturers of a variety of stop smoking products, has examined the following research:
How Stoptober is helping people to begin their quit
Search volume and Google Trends data around relevant keywords linked to the Stoptober campaign provides plenty of insight into how popular this Public Health England initiative has become.
For example, the average monthly search volume for the term ‘Stoptober’ in the UK was 18,100 between August 2013 and July 2017. However, spikes for this keyword were recorded in September and October of each year analysed; the highest of which was with 266,570 searches in September 2014, followed by 87,410 searches in October 2014.
UK Google Trends data follows a similar pattern. Where 100 refers to peak popularity, interest in Stoptober over time has seen interest peaking at 100 for the week of September 29th to October 5th 2013 when analysing the last five years of search data. There was also a score of 80 recorded in the week of September 28th to October 4th 2014— the highest score across the whole of 2014—and a score of 67 in the week of September 27th to October 3rd 2015, which was the highest score achieved for the entirety of 2015.
Of course, it is to be expected that Stoptober would achieve spikes in search volume around September and October due to the timing of the annual campaign. However, what effect does the initiative have on related keywords?
The average search volume for the keyword ‘stop smoking’ in the UK was 14,800 searches for the period covering August 2013 to July 2017. However, the following are spikes which have been seen for this keyword over the past few years:
- There were 60,320 searches in September 2013.
- 57,630 searches in October 2013.
- 49,100 searches in September 2014.
- 51,670 searches in October 2014.
- 53,470 searches in September 2015.
- 53,160 searches in October 2015.
- 46,210 searches in September 2016.
- 47,770 searches in October 2016.
In fact, apart from 2016, September and October has been among the top three months for the highest search volume for the keyword ‘stop smoking’ since 2013 — only the month of January achieves higher search volume, when New Year’s resolutions take precedence.
The average search volume for the keyword ‘nicotine gum’ in the UK was 1,000 searches for the period covering August 2013 to July 2017. However, the following are among the spikes which have been seen for this keyword over the past few years:
- There were 3,820 searches in October 2013 — a higher search volume than any month from August 2013 to and including December 2013.
- 4,010 searches in September 2014 — the third highest search volume of the year, behind October 2014 and January 2014.
- 4,280 searches in October 2014.
The average search volume for the brand name ‘Nicotinell’ in the UK was 720 searches for the period covering August 2013 to July 2017. However, the following are among the spikes which have been seen for this keyword over the past few years:
- There were 1,460 searches in November 2013 — a higher search volume than for any month from August 2013 to and including December 2013. For this statistic, it is worth bearing in mind that while Stoptober is a campaign helping to get people to stop smoking for a 28-day period in October, those who take part in the campaign and aim to continue their efforts past this initiative are sure to find nicotine replacement products a great help.
- 1,690 searches in November 2014 — the third highest search volume of the year, behind January 2014 and August 2014.
How Stoptober is helping people to achieve their quit
A press release by Public Health England, which was sent out ahead of the 2016 Stoptober campaign, contains many interesting statistics around making the UK a smoke-free nation.
For instance, 500,000 of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt in 2015 were successful — this is a success rate of 20 per cent, which is the highest recorded success rate on record. Public Health England was also keen to spotlight Nielsen data which revealed that the number of cigarettes that were sold in England and Wales dropped by 20 per cent between 2014 and 2016.
So, how does Stoptober play a role in the quit smoking journey of so many Brits? The reasoning behind the campaign, which saw more than 215,000 smokers sign up for the 2015 initiative alone, can help to answer this. The idea behind the event is tied in with evidence that smokers are five times more likely to give up smoking for good after they have gone 28 days without a cigarette.
Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, believes an ‘everyone in it together’ mindset proves beneficial too. He explains: “Stoptober is the perfect opportunity for people to take action to protect their health and join thousands of others who are also making a quit attempt this month.”
- Data from Google Keyword Planner (https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/)
- Data from Google Trends (https://trends.google.co.uk/trends/)