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Stoptober is back for 2019




SMOKERS in the North East are being encouraged to give quitting another go as Stoptober returns.


 As well as the single best thing for health, research shows quitting can save a 10-a-day smoker around £135 a month but can also improve mood and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.


Not smoking is now the norm but despite smoking rates being lower than ever before, 16% of people still smoke across the North East.


Fresh and and Public Health England are encouraging all smokers to join in with the nation's biggest quit attempt beginning on October 1st by providing them with the support and information they need to "split up" with smoking this Stoptober.


Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: "The North East has seen the biggest drop in smoking in England since 2005 and we are urging anyone who smokes to just give it a go for Stoptober – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


"There are so many reasons to quit but at a time when we are all aware of the importance of better mental health, evidence is clear that quitting smoking can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression and improve positive mood."


65-year-old former jockey Steve Charlton from High Etherley quit smoking over three months ago after more than 50 years. Steve said: "I had a sore throat which stayed with me for around eight weeks and I knew something wasn't right. I went to see my doctor and they found something on my voice box and sent me for a biopsy. Fortunately, it wasn't cancerous, but the results showed a change in composition of my cells, which can lead to cancer.


Steve Charlton2



"The cigarettes were aggravating the condition. It was the wake up call I needed to stop smoking. My GP put me in touch with my local stop smoking service and I met an advisor who was excellent. She gave me a range of options to help and I decided to try the stop smoking medication Champix. I admit that I was a bit reluctant at first as after 50 years I wasn't sure I could change my lifestyle. But I can't believe how easy it was to quit. I can't speak highly enough of the medication and the support I received from the stop smoking service.


"I feel great now. My throat is back to normal, I have stopped coughing and my breathing is better. The smoking ban has helped me without a doubt too. I used to smoke in restaurants and pubs but I can't imagine it now. Now, I'd have to go outside. It doesn't appeal to me at all. Even if you have smoked all your life like I had, I am living proof that you can do it. If I can stop, anyone can."


To get your quit attempt underway, search for Stoptober online, visit


Fresh will also be encouraging people to quit smoking with the Stoptober roadshow out and about in town centres and supermarkets.


Stoptober has supported over 1.9 million people on their quit journey to date – if a smoker can make it to 28 days smokefree, they are five times more likely to quit for good. Stoptober's free quitting support includes the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails, a Personal Quit Plan and Stoptober online communities.


Dr Rosemary Leonard said: "We know it can be hard to give up smoking but now is the time to give it a try, whether it's the first time or you've tried before. The Stoptober community can really help with motivation and staying on track. Additional support is also available from a variety of places including local stop smoking services, GPs, pharmacies and of course, the Stoptober and NHS Smokefree websites.


"Quitting smoking is the best thing a smoker can do for their health — Stoptober is a brilliant chance to quit with others for 28 days and see the benefits for yourself. If you're a non-smoker, use this chance to support a loved one as they split up with smoking this Stoptober."