SMOKERS in Halton are encouraged to quit next month as part of Stobtober, the nation’s biggest stop smoking challenge.

Smoking is still the single biggest cause of preventable death, claiming hundreds of lives in Runcorn and Widnes every year.

Stoptober quitters will receive a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app and text support with daily updates and quitting advice, detailed tools and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through social media.

There are currently 22,548 smokers in Halton.

Eileen O’Meara, director of public health at Halton Council said: “We want to help as many people as possible in Halton to quit. “There is a wide range of support available. Last year thousands of people successfully quit.”

Vikings fan and cyclist Mark Quinn, aged 46, from Widnes, who started smoking at 14, said his life has been transformed since he quit.

He said: “I smoked 10 to 12 a day. I’d tried a few times to quit but hadn’t managed to stick with it.

“I’ve lost a few close friends and the stress of that made me start smoking again.

“This time has been different. I’ve quit for nearly a year and I don’t intend to every start smoking again.”

He used to get out of breath cycling uphill. Now, he’s planning a charity bike ride from Widnes to Llandudno!

Mark added: “Quitting has definitely changed my life. I’m sleeping better because I’m not waking up struggling for breaath.

“My clothes smell better and my sense of smell is unbelievable. I feel so much better.

“I’d recommend this support team to anyone, they’re fantastic. The moral support they give you is great. I’d say to all my mates If I can do it, so can you.”

Stobtoper starts on Tuesday, October 1. To sign up, visit To contact Halton Stop Smoking Service, call 01928 593043. To download the app visit