Keeping tabs on smoking

Alisa Rutter
Alisa Rutter

A NEW bid to encourage North-East workers to quit smoking is on the way - and campaigners are encouraging people to support it three months before it starts.

The campaign group Fresh is making an early start in its bid to get people to sign up for Stoptober - the month-long bid to get people to quit cigarettes in October.

Smoking deprives the region’s economy of more than £32m a year because of increased levels of absence from work by smokers.

Stoptober encourages smokers to stop smoking for 28 days from October 1. It supports them throughout their attempts to quit with lots of free online resources and a Stoptober pack. Research shows those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smokefree.

Fresh director Ailsa Rutter said: “Employers can make a massive difference in the health and wellbeing of staff if they support staff through this process. And quitting together as a group gives people an extra motive to keep going.”

Tom Ross, Health and Wellbeing lead for the Northern TUC, said: “Recent results on life expectancy in the North East are really worrying and anything that can be done to improve the health of our region has to be worthwhile.”

Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses need their skilled workers to stay healthy, and with an ageing population as a region we can’t afford to lose people out of the workforce early through preventable diseases.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about Stoptober should email or visit