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Thousands sign up for Stoptober

Public Health England has revealed that over 11,850 smokers across the North East signed up to take part in Stoptober, the country's 28-day mass quitting challenge. They joined over 215,000 people around the country, reflecting latest figures which show substantial reductions in smoking over the last 30 years.


The latest official figures show rates across England have fallen dramatically since the mid-eighties, from a third of the population in 1985 to less than a fifth now (18%), meaning there are 37% fewer smokers than 30 years ago


The significant decline in smoking can also be seen in the reduction in the number of households that include a smoker, from half (50%) in 1985, to 21% in 2013.


Since 1985, there have been many changes both in attitudes and introduced through legislation, for example tobacco advertising is no longer allowed, work and public places are smokefree, and tobacco displays must be covered up in all shops.


However there are still around eight million smokers in England and smoking causes almost 80,000 deaths per year. Treating smoking related diseases is estimated to cost the NHS £2billion each year.


Claire Sullivan, Deputy Director, Health and Wellbeing PHE North East, said: "Our campaigns are designed to help people quit so it is fantastic to see that so many people took part in this year's Stoptober campaign and benefitted from more personal support than ever before.


"We're making considerable progress towards a smokefree nation but smoking remains the biggest cause of health inequalities, with the harm hitting hardest in our most deprived communities. There's still more to do and we must continue to help smokers across England to quit for good. There is plenty of help and support available online or from local stop smoking services."


Martyn Willmore, Performance Improvement Delivery Manager at Fresh – Smoke Free North East, the region's dedicated tobacco control office, said: "We welcome these figures from the Stoptober 2015 campaign, which we have supported, along with our local colleagues.


"This proves once again that many North East smokers are prepared to give quitting a go, and we must do all we can through campaigns such as Stoptober to encourage smokers to take the most positive step they can to improve their health. Recent figures show that smoking rates in the North East have fallen below 20%, but we must continue to do more as we strive to make the North East the first smokefree region in England."


Research shows that by stopping smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stop for good. Those taking part in Stoptober this year received free, exclusive and personal support from top comedians Bill Bailey, Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi and Rhod Gilbert.


Stoptober has finished but there is still plenty of free advice available, including links to local stop smoking services: search 'smokefree' online or visit