THE annual campaign provides the motivation for smokers around the country to kick the habit and embark on a healthier lifestyle.

And with evidence to show that if you stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good, it’s well worth signing up.

In County Durham, while we are encouraging people to take part in Stoptober, our commitment to supporting people in their quit attempt is very much a year-round one.

Working with Fresh NE, the UK’s first dedicated regional tobacco control programme, our ultimate goal is for a smokefree county by 2030.

We want to ensure that a child born now in any part of County Durham will reach adulthood breathing smoke-free air, being free from tobacco addiction and living in a community where to smoke is unusual.

And everyone who is able to successfully quit is helping to contribute towards achieving this goal.

For example, parents who give up smoking are not just improving their own health. They’re also significantly reducing their child’s exposure to second hand smoke and creating an environment where smoking is no longer the norm.

Our work to introduce smoke-free play areas in our parks and open spaces has obvious health benefits for visitors of all ages but, once again, it reinforces the idea of smoking being unusual so we’re grateful to everyone who supports this initiative.

Our public health team is also successfully working towards reducing the availability of tobacco products and the supply of illicit tobacco.

You’re more likely to be successful in your quit attempt if you have access to appropriate medication, such as nicotine replacement therapy, and combine it with support from a stop-smoking advisor. Even swapping cigarettes for vaping can make you much more likely to be successful in your quit attempt than if you go it alone. However, it is important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never home-made or illicit vaping substances.

So with just a few days left before the official start of Stoptober, why not take advantage of the wealth of help and support available in County Durham and kick-start your journey towards a smoke-free future. For help and support to quit, visit, call 0800-772-0565 or text QUIT to 66777.

Councillor Simon Henig is leader of Durham County Council.