CIVIC chiefs are urging residents to join the annual Stoptober campaign and stop smoking.

Covid-19 and flu are both much worse for smokers, making the addiction more dangerous than ever.

Compared to 2019 the proportion of smokers in England making a quit attempt has increased from 29% to 35% and the success rate for quit attempts has risen from 14% to 23%.

Smoking prevalence among adults is also at a record low of 13.9% according to a UCL Smoking Toolkit Study.

A million people are said to have quit smoking during the Coronavirus lockdown and the city council and NHS are now urging people to join that number.

Councillor Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, Southampton City Council, said: "We're pleased to join our local health partners to support Stoptober.

"I'd like to encourage all Southampton smokers that now, more than ever, is the time to put your lungs first.

"Quit smoking and breathe easier by joining the nation’s biggest quit attempt from 1 October."

The City Council now offer a stop smoking webpage with a list of local pharmacies where people can receive support to help them quit.

In Southampton 1 in 6 people are said to be smokers.

Dr Zoe Pond, Respiratory Physician at University Hospitals Southampton and Clinical Lead for Smoking Cessation, said: "The benefits of stopping smoking begin immediately and increase with time including reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and breathing problems.

"The best way to quit is with a combination of medication and support available through the NHS."

Studies show that once a person has made it to 28 days smoke-free, they are five times more likely to quit for good.