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22,000 and counting - Stoptober challenge launches in the North East

Stoptober shots


COUNCILS and smokers in the North East will be joining in with some of the country’s top comedians for this year’s 28-day Stoptober challenge.

This year, Fresh and Gateshead Council took the giant Stoptober “Stop” sign to one of the region’s best known landmarks, such as the Angel of the North and Durham Cathedral, to mark the launch and encourage smokers to take part. Smokers are urged to take advantage of free national and local support to make a quit attempt starting from October 1.

22,000 people in the North East have signed up to make a quit attempt over the last two years of the annual quitting event from Public Health England and backed by Fresh.

Smoking is no laughing matter and neither is quitting. Two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit but only four in ten told a recent survey that they have tried in the last year. There is no doubt that quitting can be tough, but it is known that people who quit do feel better in time.


Top British comedians including Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson, Jason Bent and Dr Bob) and Andi Osho will also this year bring a touch of the British sense of humour to help quitters through the challenge.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “Stoptober has been a massive success in the North East and this year could be even bigger which is why we’re encouraging everyone to support their friends and family, colleagues and staff to let them know that they can do it. Quitting can feel hard but with the right support it can be easier.

“If you smoke there’s countless reasons to stop and more ways than ever to get support. You will feel better in yourself, lower your chances of a serious smoking related disease like lung cancer, and have much more money in your pocket to treat you and your family.”

Evidence shows someone quitting who goes 28 days without a cigarette is five times more likely to stay permanently stopped. 

Stoptober provides smokers with a range of free tools including a new stop smoking pack through the post, a 28-day mobile phone app, text support with daily updates, quitting advice and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media channels. To register all you have to do is visit

The national Stoptober roadshow will be visiting the North East on Friday 12th September in Newcastle city centre, Sunday 14th in Middlesbrough town centre and Saturday 20th in Sunderland town centre.

Visitors to the roadshows will receive a 28-day step-by-step programme to support them in their smokefree attempt. Public health specialists and stop smoking advisers will also be on hand to provide advice and support to help people quit.