SMOKERS across Wirral are being challenged to sign up to the national “Stoptober” campaign to boost their chances of quitting.

Wirral Community NHS Trust and Wirral Council are supporting the Public Health England initiative – the nation’s biggest mass participation stop smoking challenge to date.

Rory Coleman, endurance athlete, and actress Suzanne Collins helped  launch this year’s campaign at the Pyramids shopping centre this afternoon.

Stoptober quitters receive a new stop smoking pack, a 28-day mobile phone app and text support with daily updates and quitting advice.

They will also get detailed tools and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people quitting together through Stoptober social media.

People who currently smoke are also encouraged to get in touch with their local stop-smoking service, as research shows you are four times more likely to quit with this extra support than stopping on your own.

Councillor Chris Meaden, cabinet member for health and well-being, is one of the first to sign-up to this year's campaign.

She said: “We want to help as many people as possible in Wirral to quit. There is a wide range of support available.

"For example our local stop smoking services are doing a great job, and last year thousands of people successfully quit with their help.

“If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now is the time to do it.

"It isn’t always an easy journey but with the support of friends, family, Stoptober resources and your local stop smoking service, everyone can help each other to reduce the number of smokers in Wirral”.

New research shows every day a person goes without cigarettes could add as much as six hours to their lives.

For the 28-day duration of Stoptober, this equals a full seven days.

It also suggests that if someone stops smoking for 28 days they are five times more likely to kick the habit for good.

Last year the campaign resulted in more than 160,000 people giving up smoking.