Newcastle United players back Stoptober

From left: Newcastle United players Dwight Gayle, Christian Atsu, Jack Colback, Jonjo Shelvey and Cheick Tiote.
From left: Newcastle United players Dwight Gayle, Christian Atsu, Jack Colback, Jonjo Shelvey and Cheick Tiote.

Football stars including Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey are fronting Newcastle United’s support for Stoptober and are reminding fans that it’s not too late to give smoking the boot for good.

Newcastle United 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 smokefree life this year.

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

Newcastle players posed with a special Stoptober 28 shirt at their Benton training ground this week, reminding smokers that it’s never too late to sign-up to quit.

Newcastle United club doctor, Dr Paul Catterson, said: “The negative health consequences of smoking are now well publicised but we need to keep reducing the number of the people smoking in the North East each and every year. This campaign is an important vehicle to enable this change and bring about a healthier local population.”

The smoking rate across the North East has fallen from 29 per cent of people smoking in 2005 to 22 per cent smoking in 2012 and 18.7 per cent smoking in 2015 – a drop of 3.3 per cent 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 per cent 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.”

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.”

Loveable football pundit, Chris Kamara, has also been supporting the campaign this year and said: “Quitting smoking is hard and that is why we need to support each other. If you know someone giving it a go, give them encouragement. As we all know, team-work is a great way to achieve our goals; by taking part in Stoptober you’ll be joining a squad of thousands all embarking on their quit-smoking journey. And here’s the thing: if you quit for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good, so go on, search Stoptober to find the best quitting method for you.”

Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20 per cent) were successful – the highest recorded success rate and up from just 13.6 per cent six years ago.

This increase in successful stop smoking attempts reflects the high number of people using quitting aids across England. In 2015, just over a million people (1,027,000) used an e-cigarette in a quit attempt while around 700,000 used a licensed nicotine replacement product such as patches or gum. In addition, more than 2,043 people in Newcastle used their local stop smoking service in 2015/16.

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 Newcastle Stop Smoking Service on 0191 269 1103, Live Well Gateshead on 0800 014 9092, or ask at your GP surgery or pharmacy.