95% of Ex-Smokers See Positive Changes to Their Life Soon After Quitting, Survey Says
A new nationwide survey released ahead of Stoptober shows nearly all (95%) ex-smokers see positive changes in their life as early as two weeks after quitting.
It comes as Fresh with South Tyneside Council encourage people to join the tens of thousands of people quitting for this year's Stoptober's mass quit attempt which launches on 1 October.
In the North East the research found that some of the top benefits ex-smokers saw within two weeks of quitting included:
· more energy (36%)
· feeling healthier (37%)
· breathing better (37%)
· as well as improvements in health, many respondents also noticed improvement in their ability to exercise (21%), healthier looking skin (24%), sense of taste returning (26%), and saving money (31%)
· on average, a smoker could save £38 a week by quitting smoking, which is around £2000 a year. 
While stopping smoking can be challenging, the survey also revealed interesting findings in terms of where people find support to quit, with family and friends (27%) and talking to others who have quit smoking (24%) rated as key motivators. Other top tips included finding a distraction from smoking such as keeping hands busy (38%), changing routine (33%) and going for walks (42%).
These findings reinforce the near-immediate improvements smokers can expect when they quit - including improvements to senses of taste and smell within as little as 48 hours.
Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for Adults, Health and Independence at South Tyneside Council, said: "More and more people in South Tyneside are quitting smoking and we have some of the best quit rates in the country. We are determined to give people all the help and support they need to stop for good.
"Alongside our comprehensive strategy to support those who want to stop smoking, we want to protect people from secondhand smoke and make more places smokefree. This includes encouraging the government to make all new pavement licences for outdoor hospitality 100% smokefree, which we have introduced in South Tyneside.
"With the launch of family hubs throughout the Borough which offer stop-smoking services, we are now able to reach more people than ever before.
"Stoptober is the perfect time to stop smoking. You will feel healthier and wealthier as a result. With the support on offer, we're encouraging everyone who smokes to give it a go!
"For health and support visit www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/."
Ailsa RutterOBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: "This Stoptober you can do it. It's a chance for a new start. Believe in yourself and get the right support to beat the cravings - it can make all the difference.
"There are so many benefits to quitting smoking and it is never too late as your body starts to recover. Within weeks you feel fitter and can breathe easier. But as the weeks and months go by you reduce the risks of a life-altering disease.
"Within a few weeks you can feel calmer and less stressed. Quitting is also good for your family finances - it might not solve your money worries but it will ease them."
Smoking rates are declining and the North East has seen the largest fall in England, from 29% of adults smoking in 2005 to 13.1% in 2022. But over five million adults in England still smoke and smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death in the country - linked to 64,000 deaths a year.  The total cost from smoking to society in England is approximately £17 billion a year, this includes the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking at approximately £2.4 billion a year. Smoking costs the North East a staggering £992 million a year. 
Stopping smoking also brings multiple long term health benefits, including a reduced risk of several cancers and lung diseases. Just one year after quitting, the risk of a heart attack is halved and after 10 years, the risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. 
Stoptober supports the government's bold new measures - such as financial incentives for all pregnant women who smoke to quit - to help us achieve our bold ambition to be Smokefree by 2030.
Stoptober is based on evidence showing that if you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you're five times more likely to quit for good. This year's new campaign - 'When you stop smoking, good things start to happen' - is designed to highlight the immediate benefits smokers can expect when they stop smoking.
Stoptober offers a range of free quitting support, including the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook support group, an online Personal Quit Plan and local stop smoking service look-up tool, as well as advice on stop smoking aids including information on how vaping can help you quit smoking.
For free support to quit this October, search 'Stoptober'.