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Give it a go for Stoptober 2021

SMOKERS in the North East are being encouraged to take part in Stoptober....the 10 year anniversary of the nation's biggest quitting campaign. It comes as new research shows more than half of smokers want to quit, and three quarters would never have started smoking if they could go back in time.


Fresh, together with local authorities in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham are backing people to join in and stay quit for 28 days, feel fitter and healthier and enjoy more money in their pocket.


With quitting support and loads of free tools to quit like the new Stoptober app, it is easier than ever to join the 2.3 million others who have made a quit attempt with the campaign since it launched a decade ago in 2012.


In the North East smoking rates have fallen from 22.1% adults smoking in 2012 – then around 459,000 adults, down to 15.3% of adults smoking – around 325,000 people – a fall of around 134,000 fewer adults smoking.



However, over 6 million adults in England still smoke, and it remains the leading preventable cause of premature death, causing almost 75,000 deaths a year.


Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: "The North East has seen massive progress over the last decade with fewer adults and children smoking. Most smokers wish they had never started and do not want their own children to smoke.


"On the one hand it is fantastic to see that millions of smokers have tried to quit in the last decade. However smoking is still our biggest cause of avoidable illness and death and has killed over 113,000 people in the North East since the start of the Millennium.


"As we go into the winter, we are all conscious of the need to stay fit and healthy and not place ourselves at an additional risk of ill health. Smoking harms your fitness and your lungs, and increases the risks of influenza, cancer, heart disease and stroke.


"The important thing is to never ever give up on quitting smoking or think it is too late - no matter when you quit, it brings important health benefits at any age."


Search 'Stoptober' now for a full range of quitting support options such as the free NHS Quit Smoking App or find your local stop smoking service.


A new nationwide survey of 2,000 current smokers released today (20 Sept) has found that:

  • Nearly half (45%) have been smoking more since the first lockdown began. Key reasons are due to being bored in the lockdowns (43%) or the pandemic making them more anxious (42%).
  • More than two fifths (43%) of smokers surveyed believe that the strength of addiction and/or craving is the biggest obstacle to quitting, followed by the stress of everyday life (42%).
  • More than half of smokers want to quit, and three quarters (75%) would never have started smoking if they could go back in time.
  • Of those who want to quit, more than half (55%) would like to do so to improve their physical health or to save money (52%).


Data from the monthly UCL Smoking Toolkit Study also indicates an increase in smoking among young adults under-35s since the coronavirus pandemic, up from 18% in 2019 to 24% now.


Stoptober is based on research that if a smoker can make it to 28 days smoke free, they are five times more likely to quit for good. The campaign first launched in 2012.


County Durham



North Tyneside

North Tyneside STOP FINAL 2






STOP Newcastle FINAL



STOP NorthumberlandFINAL


South Tyneside


STOP South Tyneside FINAL



STOP Sunderland FINAL


If you smoke 10 a day, just look at what you could save by quitting:


  • One week's saving of £36 could pay for your monthly gym membership with a little left over to go towards new gym attire [source: PureGym]
  • In two weeks you could save yourself £72, which would cover a family trip to the pantomime this Christmas! Whether it's Snow White at the Playhouse in Whitley Bay, Rapunzel at the Customs House, or Robin Hood at the Gala Theatre, you could cover the cost of tickets for a family of four – and maybe have some left over for snacks! [source: Whitley Bay Playhouse, Ticketmaster, Customs House, Gala Durham]
  • Three weeks' savings would make £108, meaning you could treat yourself to a new winter wardrobe for the coming colder months [Source: ASOS].
  • One month's saving of £144 could get you a new set of kitchen appliances – after a month since quitting, not only will your sense of taste improved, you'll also be able to kit out your kitchen with a new kettle, toaster and microwave! [Source: Amazon]
  • 6 months' saving of £864 could get you a 3-night stay at an Executive Apartment Studio at Centre Parcs in Cumbria, with money left over to spend on travel or spending while you're there [source: Centre Parcs].
  • 1 year's savings of £1728 could pay for you and someone else's 2022 summer get away. A luxury 7-night stay at Tenerife's Hard Rock Hotel, including accommodation, flights, and travel to and from the airport [source: Jet 2 *dependant on date*]