Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quit with Strength in Numbers, Smokers Told

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quit with Strength in Numbers, Smokers Told

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Health Reporter

THOUSANDS of smokers across the North East will get the chance to stub out their habit next month as health bosses launch their annual Stoptober campaign.

Public Health England and antismoking agency Fresh are urging smokers from the area to sign up to the initiative - the country's 28-day mass quit attempt.

And to stand an even better chance of quitting, Tyneside 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 or someone they work with stops.

The data also shows that individuals are much more likely 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.

This is backed up by a study of smokers in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA which shows that the fewer smoking friends someone has, the more likely they are to succeed in a quit attempt. Lisa Surtees, 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."

Prof Eugene Milne, director of public health at Newcastle City Council, said: "Quitting and avoiding smoking are among the very best things you can do to protect and improve your health and the health of those around you.

"Each year we have seen the numbers of people managing to quit are increased by Stoptober "We really hope that trend continues this year."

Coun Lynne Caffrey, chair of Gateshead's Health and Well-being Board, is also on board for the initiative.

She said: "Stoptober brings a real sense of fun to a serious health issue but the message is simple - smoking cigarettes is bad for you and the people around you, especially your children. …

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