Hartlepool backs Stoptober for fifth year

L-R: Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher (Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council), Sam Gustard (Stop Smoking Facilitator, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust), Carole Johnson (Head of Health Improvement at Hartlepool Borough Council), Leanne Watson (Stop Smoking Facilitator, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust), and Martyn Willmore (Performance Improvement Delivery Manager at Fresh).
L-R: Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher (Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council), Sam Gustard (Stop Smoking Facilitator, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust), Carole Johnson (Head of Health Improvement at Hartlepool Borough Council), Leanne Watson (Stop Smoking Facilitator, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust), and Martyn Willmore (Performance Improvement Delivery Manager at Fresh).

Local health leaders say there has never been so much support to help people quit smoking as the fifth annual Stoptober approaches.

People are urged to take advantage of the help available to give up cigarettes and tobacco for 28 days – and hopefully for good – during October.

It can be hard to find the motivation to go smoke free, but Stoptober is the perfect time to try

Pat Marshall, North of Tees Stop Smoking Service

Stoptober is being supported by celebrities Phil Tufnall and Craig Revel Horwood this year.

Smoking rates in the North East are the lowest ever at 18.7% compared to 29% in 2005, which equals around 189,000 fewer smokers.

Sales of cigarettes have also fallen by 13.01% in the North East between 2014-15.

Ailsa Rutter, director of stop smoking organisation 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 that is helping 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.”

Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers nationally who attempted to give up smoking, 500,000 people were successful.

And over 1,402 people in Hartlepool used their local stop smoking service in 2015/16.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Everyone’s quitting journey is different and however they choose to quit Stoptober can support them.

“I’m sure we all know someone – a family member, friend or work colleague – who is trying to quit and we need to give them our encouragement and understanding so that with our help they can stop smoking.”

Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s Director of Public Health, added: “With help from the Stoptober campaign and your local Stop Smoking Service, which now also welcomes smokers who want to use their own e-cigs to help them quit, and the support of your family and friends, you can kick smoking into touch and start looking forward to a healthier, happier future.”

A total of 47,000 smokers from across the North East have signed up to Stoptober in its first four years.

Pat Marshall, Service Lead at North of Tees Stop Smoking Service, said: “It can be hard to find the motivation to go smoke free, but Stoptober is the perfect time to try.

“So join in this year and start your smoke free journey one day at a time through October with friendly help from your local NHS stop smoking service.”

To get your quit attempt underway, contact your local Stop Smoking Service on (01642) 383819 or ask at your GP surgery or pharmacy.