MORE cigarettes than ever are being stubbed out by North-East smokers after 189,000 people have quit the addiction in the region, figures have revealed.

The North-East has logged its lowest ever number of smokers on record with just 18.7 per cent of the population still smoking compared to 29 per cent a decade ago.

The marked drop in smokers comes as sales of cigarettes in the region have plummeted by 13 per cent over the last two years.

Figures released ahead of the fifth Stoptober campaign have highlighted the region’s ambition to kick the habit with 47,000 already signing up to the annual quitting attempt since 2012.

The Public Health England initiative has seen 5,333 people in County Durham and over 806 people in Darlington using the North-East’s stop smoking services throughout the last 12 months.

Lifelong smoker and grandmother-of-four, Valerie Scaife, 68, from Shildon, County Durham, has not smoked for over two months after using an electronic-cigarette with support from the region’s Stop Smoking Service.

Ms Scaife said: “My husband, Alan, said he would quit with me so we both got an ‘e-cig’ and signed up to our local smoking service.

“I was one of those people who said they would never use an e-cig but after being poorly everything changes.

“I don’t miss smoking at all because I use my e-cig as I would a cigarette.

“Some of my friends have also decided to get an e-cig and quit after seeing how well Alan and I have done. They think if we can do it then so can they.”

In Yorkshire, cigarette sales have also taken a hit by falling 15 per cent with many former smokers turning to e-cigarettes, nicotine replacement patches and chewing gums in a bid to quit.

Councillor Andy Scott, Darlington Borough Council cabinet member for health and partnerships, said: “The benefits of stopping smoking are almost immediate.

“We know that those who stop smoking for 28 days are much more likely to stay smoke-free for good and those who quit with encouragement and support from family and friends dramatically improve their chances.

“In Darlington we are joining the hundreds of thousands of people who are taking part in Stoptober this year to help them find the motivation to quit."

Stoptober runs throughout October and is based on research that by the time a smoker has quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to stop for good.

For more information on Stoptober, visit or call County Durham’s Smokefreelife on 0800-7720565, or text QUIT to 66777.