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Stoptober inspires record-breaking quit attempts in the North East

A record number of smokers in the North East have been inspired to quit as part of this year’s 28-day Stoptober challenge from Public Health England. Around 13,250 people from across the region signed-up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, joining more than a quarter of a million people who swapped their fags for gags this October.


Backed by Fresh and supported by every local council in the North East, this year’s campaign saw some of the country’s top comedians including Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson) and Andi Osho, bring a touch of British humour to help motivate quitters through the challenge.


Those who successfully took part and didn’t smoke for 28 days, are now five times more likely to stay permanently stopped and can look forward to a healthier and wealthier life.


Martyn Willmore, performance improvement delivery manager at Fresh, said: “It’s fantastic to see that so many people across the North East have used Stoptober as a chance to quit and break free from the devastating harm of smoking.


"Staying quit for 28 days is a massive achievement and should not be underestimated. Not only will it save you more money to treat you and your family, you will also feel better in yourself and lower your chances of a serious smoking disease like lung cancer. “For those who didn’t quite make it to 28-days smoke-free, don’t worry. Quitting smoking can be tough and it’s only normal to have a couple of goes at it, before you eventually stop for good. There are now more ways than ever to get the right support you need, but the most important thing to do is to never give up on quitting for you and your family.”


Smokers from other countries also joined England in quitting this month, as Stoptober rolled into New Zealand and the Netherlands for the first time, so that people from all over the world stopped smoking together.


This year smokers could access a range of free tools to help them quit, 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.


Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said: “With more than 250,000 participants, it is fantastic to see that this year’s Stoptober has been so successful. Evidence shows the clear health benefits that giving up smoking provides, and that by quitting smoking people can make a huge difference to their long-term wellbeing.


“The success of mass-quit attempts, such as Stoptober, show that a tobacco-free generation is now within sight as more smokers stub out their cigarettes as part of a conscious decision to improve their health.”


It is not too late to start your own 28-day challenge – for more information visit


If you want to quit, you're also up to four times more likely to succeed with local NHS Stop Smoking Service support. See your local pharmacy or GP, or call:

  • Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service 01670 813135   North Tyneside NHS Stop Smoking Service 0345 2000 101


  • Newcastle NHS Stop Smoking Service 0191 2292911   County Durham NHS Stop Smoking Service 08000113405


  • Darlington NHS Stop Smoking Service 0300 123 1044 (national quitline only)


  • Tees NHS Stop Smoking Service (Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Hartlepool) 01642 383819


  • Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Stop Smoking Service
    0800 531 6317