SMOKERS in the region are being invited to join the thousands of people gearing up to join this year's 'Stoptober'  - an annual drive to help people to quit on October 1.

This year, Stoptober is aiming to become the nation's biggest ever quitting drive - with every North-East local authority and dozens of organisations in the region taking part to back it.

Stoptober - which is launched today (Monday, September 9) - is a 28 day initiative from Public Health England, which is backed by the North-East tobacco control office, Fresh, which encourages the region's 460,000 smokers to make a quit attempt, starting on October 1.

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People will be able to take advantage of free support including a Stoptober support pack, a daily messaging service and Stoptober mobile app. To register click on smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober/