Helen Ames
By Helen Ames

Senior Staff Writer

3 October 2023

| | 2 min read

Stoptober calls on smokers to join the thousands of others committing to quit

Fresh with Newcastle City Council are encouraging people to join the tens of thousands of people quitting for this year’s Stoptober’s mass quit attempt this October.

Stoptober group photo
Nida Memon, Senior Public Health Practitioner, Newcastle City Council; Rachel Nichol, Service Manager for Newcastle Stop Smoking Service; Angela Clark, Senior Manager for Health Works; William Moore, Service User; Emma Speed Newcastle Stop Smoking Specialist and Neil Green, Fresh and Balance

In the North East the research found that some of the top benefits ex-smokers saw within two weeks of quitting included:

more energy (36%)

feeling healthier (37%)

breathing better (37%)

as well as improvements in health, many respondents also noticed improvement in their ability to exercise (21%), healthier looking skin (24%), sense of taste returning (26%), and saving money (31%) on average, a smoker could save £38 a week by quitting smoking, which is around £2000 a year. 

While stopping smoking can be challenging, the survey also revealed interesting findings in terms of where people find support to quit, with family and friends (27%) and talking to others who have quit smoking (24%) rated as key motivators. Other top tips included finding a distraction from smoking such as keeping hands busy (38%), changing routine (33%) and going for walks (42%).

These findings reinforce the near-immediate improvements smokers can expect when they quit – including improvements to senses of taste and smell within as little as 48 hours.

Cllr Karen Kilgour, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for a Healthy Caring City, Newcastle City Council, said: “We are proud to be part of this years’ Stoptober campaign, and we are committed to supporting our residents to enjoy longer, healthier lives. Smoking continues to be the number one cause of preventable disease and early deaths in the region with many smokers desperate to quit and making several attempts to do so, so we are supporting the Stoptober campaign and hope it helps to encourage as many smokers as possible make this October the year they quit for good.”

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: “This Stoptober you can do it. It’s a chance for a new start. Believe in yourself and get the right support to beat the cravings – it can make all the difference.

“There are so many benefits to quitting smoking and it is never too late as your body starts to recover. Within weeks you feel fitter and can breathe easier. But as the weeks and months go by you reduce the risks of a life-altering disease.

“Within a few weeks you can feel calmer and less stressed. Quitting is also good for your family finances – it might not solve your money worries but it will ease them.”

Smoking rates are declining and the North East has seen the largest fall in England, from 29% of adults smoking in 2005 to 13.1% in 2022. But over five million adults in England still smoke and smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death in the country - linked to 64,000 deaths a year. [3] The total cost from smoking to society in England is approximately £17 billion a year, this includes the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking at approximately £2.4 billion a year. Smoking costs the North East a staggering £992 million a year. 

Stopping smoking also brings multiple long term health benefits, including a reduced risk of several cancers and lung diseases. Just one year after quitting, the risk of a heart attack is halved and after 10 years, the risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.   

Stoptober supports the government’s bold new measures – such as financial incentives for all pregnant women who smoke to quit – to help us achieve our bold ambition to be Smokefree by 2030.  

Stoptober is based on evidence showing that if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you're five times more likely to quit for good. This year’s new campaign - ‘When you stop smoking, good things start to happen’ - is designed to highlight the immediate benefits smokers can expect when they stop smoking.  

Stoptober offers a range of free quitting support, including the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook support group, an online Personal Quit Plan and local stop smoking service look-up tool, as well as advice on stop smoking aids including information on how vaping can help you quit smoking.  

For free support to quit this October, search ‘Stoptober’.