Sunderland players say give smoking the boot

Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore
Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore
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SAFC stars Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore are urging Wearsiders to take part in Stoptober.

The players are fronting SAFC’s support for the annual quit smoking campaign and are reminding fans that it’s not too late to sign-up to try and give smoking the boot for good.

Pickford and Watmore gathered at the Stadium of Light to praise the efforts of those who are half way through the Stoptober challenge, which runs throughout October, and to also remind other smokers that it’s never too late to sign-up to quit.

Striker Duncan Watmore said: “It’s great to see such a great initiative helping promote healthy living and one that ultimately could help people to stop smoking altogether. If by us showing that we support such a beneficial campaign, we can help, then hopefully we’ve done our bit.”

Sunderland AFC is backing the mass quit challenge from Public Health England, which is supported regionally by Fresh, in a bid to boost the number of people in the North East taking on the 28-day quit attempt.

Smokers across the region have embraced Stoptober during its first four years with around 47,000 sign-ups from the North East. It’s hoped that thousands more will take their first step towards a smoke free life this year.

As well as the immediate health benefits, there are other reasons to quit smoking including saving money. Someone who smokes a packet of cigarettes a day could save around £250 a month.

The smoking rate across the North East has fallen from 29% of people smoking in 2005 to 22% smoking in 2012 and 18.7% smoking in 2015 – a drop of 3.3% over the past four years and around 189,000 fewer smokers in the last decade.

Alongside this, according to the latest data from Nielsen, the number of cigarettes sold in the North East also dropped by 13.01% in 2015.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “Stoptober provides a fantastic opportunity for smokers to give quitting a go, even if they have tried before and not succeeded. Every quit attempt is different and there’s a wide range of support and advice available for those keen to take that step.

“Players are role models and it is brilliant to see them backing this campaign.”

Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: “It’s still not too late to give up and be part of the Stoptober team.

“Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK and, as the club and players are reminding us, once you stop smoking you are making yourself healthier and wealthier.”

Professor Peter Kelly, PHE NE Centre Director, said: “Quitting is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health and reduce the chances of developing long-term conditions and dying prematurely.

“It is fantastic to have the support of our local clubs and if you know someone who is quitting, be sure to give them lots of encouragement!”

For more information, search ‘Stoptober’ online and choose the package of support that will help you quit for good. For information and support on stopping smoking, contact Sunderland Live Life Well on 0800 107 0741 or ask at your GP surgery or local pharmacy.