HEALTH chiefs are hoping thousands of Sunderland smokers will kick the habit next month.
Stoptober, now in its third year, is challenging the North East’s 460,000 smokers to give up smoking for 28 days from October 1.
Around 250,000 people nationally – 1,417 of them in Sunderland – signed up for the quit challenge last year.
Of those, 65 per cent managed to complete the 28-day challenge – making them five times more likely to quit for good.
Everyone signing up for the campaign will receive a detailed 28 day step-by-step programme to help them.
The national Stoptober roadshow is also visiting Sunderland again this year to encourage people to sign up.
It will be in Market Square this Saturday and at other Wearside venues throughout next week.
NHS health trainers will also be there on the day offering one-to-one advice and support to anyone planning to quit together with the Sunderland Stop Smoking Service who will be handing out leaflets about the support available in the city.
Councillor Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city services, is encouraging other smokers to join him in the campaign.
He said: “I’ve tried all sorts to help me quit and nothing has worked so far but I’m determined to give this my best shot.
“We all know smoking is bad for us, it’s the single biggest cause of preventable death in the UK and many of us have lost someone we love to illnesses caused by smoking.
“But research shows if you can manage to give up smoking for 28 days you’re five times more likely to stay off it.”
People who sign up to Stoptober will receive a quit pack plus the option to receive a daily message and Stoptober mobile app.
They can also register with local Stop Smoking Service by calling 0800 531 6317 or by texting “smokefree” and their postcode to 80800 e.g. smokefreeNE345PP.