Sunderland smokers: Are you ready for Stoptober?

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SUNDERLAND smokers are being urged to kick the habit for Stoptober – launched today.

This year, Stoptober is aiming to become the nation’s biggest ever quitting drive – with every North-East local authority backing it.

Stoptober is a 28-day initiative from Public Health England, which is backed by Fresh and encourages the region’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 mobile app.

A person stopping smoking for 28 days is five times more likely to stay smokefree. Along with the health benefits, quitting saves the average smoker more than £150 a month and almost £2,000 a year.

Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture for Sunderland City Council, will be among those trying to quit. He said: “Giving up smoking is never going to be easy.

“I know that from my own experience as someone who’s tried to quit several times.

“But the statistics show that if you can give up smoking for 28 days, you’re far more likely to be able to stay quit, with all the financial, physical and health benefits that brings with it.

“That’s why I’m taking part in Stoptober, and it’s also why as a council we’re going to be doing everything we can to encourage people to take part and to offer them the support they need to do so.”

In Sunderland, a series of roadshows offering support to quit smoking is being held ahead of the national Stoptober roadshow in Market Square on September 20.

Ailsa Rutter, director of stop-smoking group 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.”

Anyone wanting to quit smoking can contact Sunderland NHS Stop Smoking Services on 0800 531 6317, or log onto or by texting Smokefree and their postcode to 80800.

To register, for a Stoptober pack visit

Roadshow dates

n Monday, September 16 – Active bus at Southwick shopping area.

n Tuesday, September 17 – bus at Pallion retail park.

n Wednesday, September 18 – Active bus at Concord shopping area, Washington

n Thursday, September 19 – Active bus at Co-op in Houghton.

n All roadshows take place between 10am-4pm.