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North East leaders unite to back vision to reduce smoking

Credit: PA

Plans to cut smoking rates to 5% across the North East by 2025 have been backed by health and local government leaders.

According to North East smoking charity, Fresh,the vision to reduce smoking rates to 5% by 2025 would have a profound impact on the region's NHS and economy - freeing-up around £50 million for the NHS and significantly easing the strain on hospital admissions and GP surgeries, as well as slashing the cost of smoking on local businesses.

Based on the estimated 2025 population, if just 5% of people smoked in the North East it would reduce the annual cost to the region from £158m to £58m.

Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh, said:

While we still see devastation of people's health from smoking, we have a duty to do all that we can to protect future generations from the harm of tobacco by making it a thing of the past.

"This is an ambitious goal, but it is the right one. There are very few families in our region who have not seen someone they love suffer as a result of smoking. We do not want children in theNorth East growing up seeing smoking and the diseases caused by tobacco as a normal part of life.

We have made good progress over the past decade, but smoking is still by far our biggest killer. Although we have along way to go, uniting partners in this forward-thinking vision will help us to realise the end goal of making smoking history for our children.

– Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh

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Richard Branson: commuters should not be worried about rising rail fares

Sir Richard Branson says rail commuters in the region should not be concerned about rising prices on the East Coast mainline.

Speaking on a visit to Newcastle this lunchtime he told ITV Tyne Tees that concerns about lack of competition and increases in fares were unfounded.

Virgin Rail and Stagecoach took over the running of the East Coast Franchise this week. They already run services on the West Coast line. There have been concerns from the Competition and Marketing Authority about lack of competition in some areas driving prices up.

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