Smokers in Hartlepool urged to give quitting a go on No Smoking Day 2018

Published Wednesday, 14th March 2018

Today is No Smoking Day, and thousands of smokers in Hartlepool are being urged to give quitting a go – and try to quit at least once a year until they stop.

The call comes as new figures suggest smokers in the North East are making more successful quit attempts than elsewhere in the country.

The figures come from the Smoking Toolkit Study from University College London, which shows that in the past 10 years in the North East, around 18.3% of people who tried to quit smoking were still not smoking, compared with 15.7% of people nationally. The figures for 2017 were 19.7% versus 17.7%.

Fresh is also encouraging Hartlepool smokers who’ve struggled to quit so far to consider switching completely to an e-cigarette – significantly less harmful than smoking and now the most popular way to quit smoking in the UK. Whether or not smokers use an e-cigarette they are strongly advised to get support from their local Stop Smoking Service.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Interim Director of Public Health, said: “As a Council, we are supporting this year’s No Smoking Day and encouraging smokers in Hartlepool to significantly improve their health, wellbeing and bank balance by making a quit attempt.

“Hartlepool has the highest rate of adults smoking in the region - around two in every ten – as well as the highest rate for smoking-related hospital admissions.

“Whilst these rates are declining, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death, with around 673 deaths in the town each year attributed to smoking – that’s two people, every day of every week.

“Just because you have tried to quit in the past and haven’t succeeded, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it this time. Stopping smoking is a real challenge, but there are now more ways to quit than ever before and it’s important to find one that works for you.

“Visit your local GP, pharmacist, or stop smoking service and make 2018 the year you finally commit to quitting smoking for good.”

Prof West said: “Every smoker should have a go at stopping smoking at least once a year and No Smoking Day is a great opportunity to do this. Our research tells us that the best chance of success is by doing it all in one go rather than by trying to cut down gradually, and to use the Local Stop Smoking Service.

“The North East has seen a higher quit success rate. If we can encourage more smokers in the North East to have a go at stopping we could see huge reductions in smoking rates.”

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “We are urging smokers to never give up on quitting. It is great to see the figures showing smokers in the North East have a better chance at quitting – and we have had the biggest fall in smoking since 2005, but we’re also suggesting some of the most effective ways to stop.

“Some people do manage to quit first time – but for most it takes many attempts. Don’t get disheartened if you didn’t quit first time, and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You can come back more determined and better prepared next time.”

The Smoking Toolkit study is co-ordinated by Prof Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies, University College London.

Some of the ways to quit Fresh is recommending include:

  • Stop Smoking Services – with expert specialist help smokers are up to four times more likely to quit.
  • Switching to e-cigarettes.  There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking and using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings . E-cigs are estimated to be 95% less harmful than smoking. Refillable “tank” system e-cigarettes are regarded as more effective and end up being cheaper than the discardable ones that look like cigarettes. Specialist e-cigarette retailers can provide advice.
  • Using a quitting cessation aid like nicotine patches or a stop smoking medicine such as Champix. Cigarettes contain nicotine which your body becomes dependent on. Stop smoking medicines can help you manage withdrawal symptoms. Most health problems are caused by other components in tobacco smoke, not by the nicotine.
  • Ask your GP or pharmacist.
  • Get support from family and friends – their support can go a long way. If your partner smokes, why not quit together?
  • There are a range of tools online such as the Smokefree App, email and text support from NHS Smokefree, or call the National Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044.

For free help and support on quitting smoking and for details of stop smoking sessions in Hartlepool, please contact your local NHS Stop Smoking service on 01642 383819 or visit