SMOKERS on Wearside are being encouraged to stub out the fags as part of the country’s biggest quitting campaign.
Next month has been labelled “Stoptober” as the Department of Health calls on those who light up to pack in once and for all.
The 28-day initiative, supported by anti-smoking group Fresh, will be calling on the region’s 460,000 smokers to begin a serious quit attempt on October 1.
Research released shows that those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely not to smoke again.
Health experts say that riends, families, employers and work colleagues can also make a big difference to support people to stop for the whole of October and beyond.
Dr Iain Gilmour, vice-chairman of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We want to help as many people as possible in Sunderland to become smoke free.
“We know how difficult trying to stop smoking can be for many people.
“Stoptober offers smokers a supportive and encouraging process to follow to help become smoke free within a month.
“It encourages smokers to share their experiences and tap into all the social aspects and support that is available to help them in their quit attempt.”
Councillor John Kelly, wcabinet member for health at Sunderland Council, said: “It’s always easier to give something up if people around you doing likewise, so schemes like Stoptober are a great incentive.”
Pam Lee, public health consultant for Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, said: “Most people who smoke would like to be able to quit and may have tried before, but never before has so much support been on offer.
“The fact that so many people are quitting gives people an extra reason to be part of it and to stop.”
People will be able to take advantage of free support including a Stoptober kit, as well as a daily messaging service and quitting app for PCs and smartphones.
To register go to smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober.
Those looking to quit should contact the South of Tyne and Wear Stop Smoking Service on 283 1145, where they can find out about different places to access support in Sunderland.