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Stoptober is back!



FAMILIES and friends are being invited to take part together in Stoptober – the mass quitting challenge from Public Health England starting on 1st October – and join the nearly 15 million people across the country who have already quit.


The smoking rate across the North East has fallen from 29% of people smoking in 2005 to 22% smoking in 2012 and 18.7% smoking in 2015 – a drop of 3.3% over the past four years and around 189,000 fewer smokers in the last decade. This is the highest reduction in smoking in England.


Alongside this, according to the latest data from Nielsen, the number of cigarettes sold in the North East also dropped by 13.01% in 2015.


To mark this year's event, Fresh took its roving photocall out all over the North East visiting some of the region's best known locations.


Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers nationally who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20%) were successful - the highest recorded success rate and up from just 13.6% six years ago.


This increase in successful stop smoking attempts reflects the high number of people using quitting aids across England. In 2015, just over a million people (1,027,000) used an e-cigarette in a quit attempt while around 700,000 used a licensed nicotine replacement product such as patches or gum. In addition, over 26345 in the North East used their local stop smoking service in 2015/16.


Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "Most smokers would like to be able to quit and every quit attempt is different. Even if you have tried before but failed, give it another go this Stoptober.


"There's never been so much support out there to help people find their own best way to quit, from electronic cigarettes to stop smoking services who now welcome people using their own ecigs to stop."


Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council's Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: "Smokers who stop feel healthier and wealthier. Many of us will know somebody who is ill or has died because of their smoking and it is the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK. Stoptober is a good way to give up. This is because research has shown how if you can give up smoking for 28 days you're five times more likely to quit. So, there's very good reasons to sign up for Stoptober."


Claire Sullivan, Deputy Director for Health & Wellbeing for Public Health England, said: "It is great to see nearly 50,000 people signing up to Stoptober in the first four years and it has become the second "New Year" for quit attempts. Join in, keep positive and believe you can quit. And if you know someone quitting, give them loads of encouragement!"


Dr. Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: "While we know that quitting smoking is not easy, this Stoptober is a perfect time to try again. The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking. There is more help and support available now than ever before.  The introduction of standardised packs removes the glamorous branding and brings health warnings to the fore and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now regulated to assure their safety and quality.


"We also have a range of free support that can go direct to your phone, laptop or tablet via the Stoptober app, a daily email service or Facebook Messenger bot. The new Stoptober website also has advice and information on stop smoking services and quitting aids. Stoptober has helped lots of smokers quit for 28 days and beyond. So if you smoke, why not make this Stoptober the time you quit – for good."


Ex- England cricketer and Question of Sport captain, Phil Tufnell, comments: "I'm really pleased to be supporting Stoptober this year. I have smoked pretty steadily since I was a teenager, even through my cricket career. I have tried to give up before and know how tough it is, but I am going to try and quit again from 1 October.


"Even if you have tried quitting before like me and failed, just give it another go and keep trying. The more you try to quit the more likely you are to get there. Stoptober is here to help, so let's try and get through to 28 days without a fag by taking it one day at a time."


Stoptober is back for a fifth year, having driven almost a million quit attempts to date.  It starts on the 1st October and is based on research that by the time you have quit for 28 days you are 5 times more likely to stop for good. So far 47,000 people have signed up to the campaign in the North East in its first four years.


For more information, search 'Stoptober' online and choose the package of support that will help you quit for good, including details of your local stop smoking services.