Stoptober is a popular initiative that was set up by Public Health England. It runs throughout the month of October for 28 days, and has been designed to encourage smokers to quit. 2017 is the sixth year of the initiative.
In collaboration with Nicotinell, a supplier of stop smoking products, there is investigate search volume and data from Google Trends to assess the success of the campaign. So what was discovered?
Deciding it’s time to quit
Search volume and Google Trends analysis demonstrates how many times a keyword has been searched in Google.
Searches for the keyword ‘Stoptober’ spiked around the time of September and October in each year that was analysed. The average monthly search volume was 18,100 between August 2013 and July 2017, however spikes as high as 266,570 searches in September 2014 were found.
The data in Google Trends tells a similar story. Where 100 refers to maximum popularity, interest in
Stoptober has seen a peak at 100 for the week of September 29th to October 5th in 2013. 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.
Around the time of the initiative, it is expected that more people would be searching for ‘Stoptober’ – but what about search volumes of related keywords?
Search volume of ‘stop smoking’
- The period between August 2013 and July 2017 was examined.
- The average volume for the keyword ‘stop smoking’ was 14,800 searches. However, the following spikes were discovered:
- 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.
Apart from the year 2016, September and October were among the top three months for the
highest search volume for ‘stop smoking’ since 2013. The month of January is always an exception
and is higher because of New Year resolutions.
Search volume of ‘nicotine gum’
- ‘Nicotine gum’ was searched for 1,000 times in one month on average, between the period analysed
(August 2013 – July 2017).
However, the following spikes were discovered:
- 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.
Search volume of ‘Nicotinell’
- Keyword ‘Nicotinell’ was searched for 720 times between August 2013 and July 2017. However, the
following spikes were found:
- 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.
Achieving the quit
There were many interesting statistics revealed in a press release by Public Health England surrounding making the UK a smoke-free nation.
A success rate of 20% was discovered in smokers who attempted to quit in 2015. 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.
What are the reasons behind the success of Stoptober? The campaign saw more than 215,000 smokers sign up for the 2015 initiative alone, which 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 that the
motivation for participants of the initiative to quit lies with the ‘everyone in it together’ mindset. 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/)
- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/quitting-smoking- sweeps-the- nation-as- stoptober-returns
- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/stoptober-2015- concludes
Have you or someone you know given up smoking?