SMOKERS in north Durham are being offered help to kick the habit.

A Stop Smoking Group has been formed at Pelaw View Centre, in Sherburn Road, Gilesgate, Durham. It will meet every Tuesday, starting next week, from 1pm to 2pm.

Deborah Scott, smoking cessation advisor for Durham and Chester-le-Street Primary Care Trust (PCT), said: "People are twice as likely to succeed in stopping smoking using nicotine replacement therapy.

"Add the support of your local NHS Stop Smoking Service and you are four times more likely to be successful."

Between April 2004 and last March, 1,092 people had quit through the NHS Stop Smoking Services in the Durham and Chester-le-Street area at the four-week follow-up point.

Ms Scott said: "If you feel the time is right for you to give up smoking, and you would like some advice, contact your GP surgery, or register your interest for the Stop Smoking Group by contacting the PCT's Stop Smoking Team."

Anyone interested in joining the group can contact 0191-374 4121 or 4109, or 0191-384 9561.