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Stoptober is here!



STOPTOBER is back and smokers are being encouraged to give quitting another go – even if they've tried before.


Last year, nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully, which is the equivalent to 1,069 smokers each day – one every 80 seconds. Fresh, along with local authorities and NHS Trusts across the North East are supporting this year's campaign and encouraging local people who smoke to take part.


Despite new smokers starting and ex-smokers relapsing, North East smoking rates have fallen by 44% since 2005 when 29% of North East adults smoked down to 16.2% of people in 2017 – around a quarter of a million fewer people smoking.


Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: "Most smokers would like to be able to quit. You stand a much better chance if you give quitting a serious go at least once a year until you can stop for good.


"The North East has seen one of the highest falls in smoking in England, and the best quitting success rates. In 2005, our adult smoking rates were on 29% and we are getting close to halving smoking.


"We'd urge smokers who have struggled to quit before to take heart from the hundreds of thousands of other people who have stopped for good.


"If we are to get smoking down to 10% and under, it will be vital that our GP surgeries and hospitals also play a major part to support smokers to quit with effective treatment."


Six out of 10 smokers want to quit and most try to quit using willpower alone (or 'cold turkey').  However, the most successful quit attempts use a combination of effective stop smoking support methods. The best way to quit is with expert help from local stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids. In 2017-18, half (51%) of smokers who got this package of support managed to quit and among those who used an e-cigarette in their quit attempt, the success rate was up to 63%.


New to this year, Public Health England's Stoptober campaign is offering a free online 'Personal Quit Plan' to help smokers find the right stop smoking support for them. The online plan asks a number of questions and provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously. Smokers will be advised that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are most effective when used in combination – an all-day patch together with a fast-acting option such as an inhalator or lozenges to help them deal with any immediate cravings.


Jeremy Kyle, TV presenter and until recently a smoker of 35 years, said: "I was a 20 a day smoker for most of my life and am proud to say I quit smoking earlier this year. I've tried many times in the past to quit but nothing really worked for me. This year, however, the time was right and I wanted to do it for me. With the death of my mother, having cancer myself and becoming a grandad this year, I was determined and I'm so happy I'm now smokefree. I'm not going to pretend it is easy, but I knew my time smoking was up.


"The thing that is really helping me stay smokefree is vaping. I'm currently on the lowest nicotine strength and will then come off the e-cigarette altogether when the time is right for me. Since quitting I've learned just how important using support is and for people not to go 'cold turkey' – that certainly didn't work for me in the past. If I can quit, I honestly believe anyone can quit if you just have the right support, and that's what Stoptober is there to give you and I want people to know that and to do it this year."


Stoptober is based on research that if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you are five times more likely to quitfor good. The new Personal Quit Plan will recommend a range of options to smokers including face-to-face support, nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gum or inhalers, and e-cigarettes.


E-cigarettes remain the nation's favourite stop smoking aid, with an estimated 3.2 million adult users in Great Britain. Over time, the proportion who are ex-smokers has risen and over half (52%) of current vapers have stopped smoking completely. A further 900,000 people have given up both smoking and vaping.


Search 'Stoptober' to use the Personal Quit Plan and to find out about the range of free and proven support available to help you start your quitting journey on the 1st October. Or contact your local stop smoking service from the list below:


Smokefreelife County Durham - call 800 772 0565 or 0191 369 2016, text QUIT to 66777, email or visit


Gateshead call the Gateshead Stop Smoking Service on 0191 433 3058 or email


Hartlepool - call the North Tees and Hartlepool Stop Smoking service on 01642 383819 or visit:


Middlesbrough - call Stop Smoking South Tees on 01642 727579 or 01642 727590 email or visit:


Redcar and Cleveland - call Stop Smoking South Tees on 01642 727579 or 01642 727590 email or visit:


Newcastle - call the Newcastle Stop Smoking Service on 0191 269 1103 or text 07809 105837, email or visit


North Tyneside - call the North Tyneside Stop Smoking Service on 0191 643 7171, email or


Northumberland - call the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service on 01670 813135, email or visit


South Tyneside - call the South Tyneside Stop Smoking service on 0191 424 7300 or visit


Stockton - call the North Tees and Hartlepool Stop Smoking Service on 01642 383819 or visit


Sunderland - call Live Life Well, Sunderland on 0800 107 0741 or 0191 565 3482, or