No Smoking Day was established as a national event on Ash Wednesday in 1984, and has grown in status and in impact over the past the 25 years.
No Smoking Day was originally organised by a committee of representatives from organisations with an interest in smoking and health. In 1988 No Smoking Day took on full time campaign staff and the Day continues to be organised by a small number of full time staff. No Smoking Day was registered as a charity in 1991 and in 2011 the charity was merged with the British Heart Foundation.
Since its inception, No Smoking Day has aimed to support those smokers who want to quit; research shows that around three in every four smokers would like to stop.
The success of the No Smoking Day is built on the commitment of local organisers throughout the UK. There are now over 8,000 registered campaigners for No Smoking Day and the charity circulates over 35,000 campaign packs each year.
The hard work of these dedicated organisers has helped ensure that No Smoking Day has remained the UK's foremost public health event, with over a million people making a quit attempt every year.
Each year the campaign is entirely redesigned and re-launched with a fresh campaign theme. New ideas for the campaign are tested with smokers and organisers from right across the UK, from different age ranges, ethnic groups and lifestyles, to make sure that our messages appeal to everyone. Materials are also produced in a wide range of different languages including Welsh, Urdu, Bengali and Arabic.
No Smoking Day operates a major PR plan to get as much exposure as possible in the media, raising awareness of the Day and triggering quit attempts. Coverage for the campaign remains very high across press, broadcast and online media, with around 2,000 stories per year in the newspapers alone. These range from national tabloids, such as The Sun to specialist publications such as Pink Paper and Eastern Eye. In 2007 No Smoking Day generated 24 hours of broadcast coverage in just one day.
Back in 1984 there were few services to help smokers stop. Today, national helplines, local stop smoking services, drop-in centres, pharmacists, GPs and others are all available to offer help and advice to smokers who want to give up.
The No Smoking Day charity works with all of these groups to ensure the Day achieves maximum success with as many smokers as possible.
Over the years the campaign has attracted high profile support, from politicians,
sportsmen and women, and celebrities.
Since the beginning, No Smoking Day has been rigorously evaluated every year, with research outcomes ensuring the campaign stays relevant and up-to-date. The No Smoking Day charity also carries out a number of pieces of independent research about smoking-related topics.
Over the years topics such as the cost of smoking, smokers' perceptions of their habit and sex and smoking have been covered. The full list of No Smoking Day publications can be found by clicking on the link on the left.
The No Smoking Day campaign has become one of the best-known awareness
days in the UK, with around 70 per cent of the population annually aware
of the Day.
Smokers are using the Day more than ever as their day to try to stop smoking; although smoking prevalence has dropped, the proportion of smokers who use the Day has actually risen since 1984.
No Smoking Day 2012 takes place on Wednesday 14 March.