THOUSANDS of Hartlepool people have been urged to quit smoking.
The anti-smoking group Fresh and Hartlepool Borough Council took the giant Stoptober Stop sign to Hartlepool Marina to mark the launch and encourage smokers to take part.
Smokers are urged to take advantage of free national and local support to make a quit attempt starting from October 1.
The annual event is run by Public Health England and backed by Fresh.
Smoking is no laughing matter and neither is quitting. Two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit but only four in ten told a recent survey that they have tried in the last year.
Top British comedians including Paddy McGuinness, Al Murray, Simon Brodkin (aka Lee Nelson) will bring a touch of the British sense of humour to help quitters through the challenge.
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “If you smoke there’s countless reasons to stop and more ways than ever to get support. 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 to treat you and your family.”
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, chairman of the Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Smoking kills one in five of all UK adults aged 35 and over – including nearly 160 each year in Hartlepool – so this is a challenge which we must win.”
Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s director of public health, said: “Make no mistake – you can break free of smoking. Lots of people have done it and you can too.”
Stoptober provides smokers with free tools including a new stop smoking pack through the post, a 28-day mobile phone app, text support, d tips for coping, as well as the support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media channels. To register all you have to do is visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober/