Smokers are being invited to join the tens of thousands of people gearing up to quit for Stoptober.
This year, Stoptober is aiming to become the nation’s biggest ever quitting drive – with every North East local authority and dozens of organisations with a reach of over half a million staff in the region taking part to back it.
Stoptober is a 28 day initiative from Public Health England, which is backed by Fresh and encourages the North East’s 460,000 smokers to make a quit attempt, starting on October 1.
People will be able to take advantage of free support including a Stoptober support pack, a daily messaging service and Stoptober mobile app.
A person stopping smoking for 28 days is five times more likely to stay smokefree and Stoptober’s aim is to help smokers achieve this goal. Friends, families, employers and work colleagues can also make a real difference to support people to stop for the whole of October and beyond.
Someone who quits smoking for Stoptober, and doesn’t smoke again, could gain an extra seven days of life, every 28 days, for the rest of their life. Along with the health benefits, quitting saves the average smoker over £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year.
Every North East council has backed the campaign, which includes encouraging any staff who smoke to give quitting a go. Some of the major organisations backing Stoptober include Durham University, Newcastle University, the University of Sunderland, Greggs, International Paint, Bellway Homes, Nike, Boots and Durham and Cleveland Constabularies. The Northern TUC has also backed the campaign through the Better Health at Work Awards scheme. Awareness events are also planned in the maternity department at James Cook.
Middlesbrough Council’s Director of Public Health Edward Kunonga said: “Smoking rates amongst adults in Middlesbrough are falling. However, they remain higher than the North East and national averages and smoking remains the single most preventable cause of premature deaths locally.
“At current smoking levels, there will be approximately 229 deaths in Middlesbrough each year in adults aged 35 and over which are directly attributable to smoking. Reducing preventable illness and early deaths linked to smoking in Middlesbrough and improving the health of local people are key priorities of Middlesbrough’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.”
On Saturday 21 September the National Stoptober Road Show will be visiting Middlesbrough’s town centre. People taking part will be provided with a detailed 28-day step-by-step programme to support them in their smokefree attempt. Public health specialists and stop smoking advisers will be on hand to provide advice and support to help people quit.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Premature deaths and ill-health linked to smoking place a heavy toll on health services, as well as on local employers through increased sickness absenteeism.
“Smoking-related diseases cost the NHS in Middlesbrough more than £6.4 million per year. Reducing the number of people who smoke and discouraging people from starting have significant financial and public health benefits.”
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “We’re encouraging anyone who smokes in the North East to join in with Stoptober and give quitting a go. Last year’s campaign was a massive success and this year it could be even bigger.
“It is fantastic to have so much involvement from local authorities and major employers from the region this year. The support of your employer and colleagues can make a massive difference to help you to quit.
“If you smoke there’s countless reasons to stop. 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.
“There are more tools than ever before to help quit for good, as well as the excellent support from the effective NHS Stop Smoking Services in the North East.”
Benefits of quitting
- Reduce the risk of a serious smoking related disease from middle age
- You’ll improve your general fitness
- You’ll save hundreds if not thousands of pounds for nicer things
- Your skin and teeth will improve
- You won’t smell of smoke
- If you smoke indoors, you’ll protect loved ones from poisonous smoke
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