Ambitious bid launched for Milton Keynes to become first 'smoke-free' city by 2025

    An ambitious bid has been launched today (16th February 2023), to help Milton Keynes go Smoke Free by 2025.  

    The major initiative, called Smoke Free MK, will support Milton Keynes to achieve smoke free status ahead of the rest of the country.

    Riot Rehab, the organisers behind Smoke Free MK, want to accelerate smoke cessation in the region through its own independent anti-tobacco initiatives which begin this month.

    According to the latest data, around 30,200 people use tobacco in Milton Keynes (15% of the population), while smoking is estimated to kill over 220 people - or 1,564* years of life lost annually. 

    With the current state of quit-smoking support at a national, and regional, level not delivering at the required speed - Riot Rehab believes the approach is ripe for disruption - and pioneering a new and targeted approach in Milton Keynes can set a precedent for the rest of the UK.

    Riot Rehab promises Smoke Free MK will change the 'status quo' to quit-smoking for thousands of people.

    Instead of sterile quit-smoking clinics, dull information packs, and preachy tactics - smokers in Milton Keynes can expect experiences that positively interrupt their lives and have impact where smoking triggers exist most. 

    As a first step, people can sign-up to join the movement here

    The idea and initial investment behind Riot Rehab, is Riot Labs, the MK-based e-cigarette firm - that has helped thousands of smokers quit tobacco since forming in 2017. The Smoke Free MK initiative was born out of frustration at England’s faltering quit-smoking targets, and also the need for a more universal approach to supporting smokers, and ending tobacco use - through more methods than just vaping. 

    Last month, Riot Rehab launched Taking scissors to tobacco use - targeting the awkward hour in the hairdressers chair through offering free haircuts to smokers, whilst getting quit-smoking advice. The Riot Rehab bus was converted into a pop-up hair salon and parked at centre:mk - with Apprentice star and MK salon owner, Rochelle Anthony fronting the campaign. 

    Riot Rehab spokesperson, David Donaghy, said: “Our belief is there are over 30,000 tobacco users in Milton Keynes who need our help, and they deserve to be given the right tools to help quit. It doesn’t matter if it’s through the use of e-cigarettes, patches or other means - it’s about giving them the right support, in the right scenario, at the right time.

    We’re realistic too. While the floundering Smoke Free by 2030 is a national level challenge, we believe focussing all our efforts on Milton Keynes to start with and delivering results will provide a benchmark for other areas of the UK to follow.”

    With Smoke Free MK setting itself an ambitious target for the area to be Smoke Free by 2025, what can smokers expect to see in the coming months? 

    Donaghy added: “We’ve always advocated disruptive guerilla tactics to help people quit smoking. We want Smoke Free MK to reach smokers at lots of different touch points - and where triggers for smoking are high.

    "There’s some big activities planned over the next few months to kick things off with a bang - and smokers can expect us to show up at the office, on the highstreet, or on a night out. It’s all geared up for maximum impact, and action to help people quit.”

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