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Sign up to Stoptober with friends, family and colleagues to boost your chances of quitting

Stoptober 2015

Smokers in County Durham are being urged to give quitting a go for the launch of Stoptober as new research finds people's chances of stopping soar if they quit with a partner or friend.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has joined forces with Public Health England and Fresh to urge smokers from the area to sign up to Stoptober - the country's 28 day mass quit attempt from Public Health England - to receive support and encouragement every step of the way from some of the nation's top comedians. 

And to stand an even better chance of quitting, County Durham residents are encouraged to sign up with their friends, family and colleagues, as evidence reveals that this type of 'social quitting' can dramatically improve people's chances of successfully stopping.

Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops. The data also shows that individuals are much more likely (61%) to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes - showing the powerful influence that people's social networks have on their own smoking behaviour.

Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh, said: "Making a pact to quit with your partner or a friend is a great way to really boost your chances of kicking tobacco once and for all. That support can make all the difference and keep you going."

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Portfolio Holder for Adult and Health Services, said: "We know that children are most at risk of becoming smokers if they grow up in communities where smoking is the norm. Stoptober gives smokers an ideal opportunity to prepare and take part in a smoke-free plan that will give them a great foundation for quitting for good.

"We hope smokers in County Durham will take part in this year's initiative, and join the thousands of others who have successfully quit. Free, personalised advice and support is also available by contacting the County Durham NHS Stop Smoking Service. Using the service is far more effective than using just willpower alone and the team are more than happy to welcome back anyone who has used the service before and wants to try quitting again."

This year, Stoptober will be providing quitters with a personal touch from some of the nation's leading comedians - Bill Bailey, Rhod Gilbert, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi. Messages of support and encouragement will be sent straight to quitters' phones and emails throughout October.

Over a quarter of a million people across the country signed up to Stoptober last year with more than half making it to 28 days; this year, it is expected the campaign will welcome the millionth sign up. By stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

By signing up to Stoptober, participants can choose from a range of free support tools including daily emails and text messages from the comedians throughout the 28 day quit attempt as well as a mobile phone app which includes lots more tips and advice - all of which have shown to increase the chances of staying smokefree.

To sign up to the nation's biggest mass quit attempt, search Stoptober online or visit

If you want to quit, you're up to four times more likely to succeed with NHS support. Pop into your local pharmacy, ask at your GP, or call our County Durham NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0800 011 3405.

Pictured above: Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Portfolio Holder for Adult and Health Services, with Lee Mack, Head of Service at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Dianne Woodall, Public Health Portfolio Lead at Durham County Council, Andy Lloyd from Fresh and Grace Wali, Anne Pulse, Carol Moody and Lauren Lang from County Durham NHS Stop Smoking Service, along with children from an east Durham family boot camp.

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital