13,000 children in the North East were admitted to hospital with smoking related problems last year. Here's where you can find help quitting
Today is the start of the 30th annual No Smoking Day campaign.
A stop smoking campaign is being launched to help make hospitals in the region cleaner and cut down on the cost of smoking related diseases.
The Northumberland Stop Smoking Service has warned that there are still many older smokers in the region putting their lives at risk, years after the smoking ban was introduced.
The warning comes as the Government released a hard-hitting advert which shows a tumour growing out of a cigarette.
The North East has seen the fastest rate of people quitting, but the service says more people need to follow suit.
Bob Cunningham and his family has had their first smokefree Christmas in more than 20 years after he gave up the habit.
He said that he is now fitter, can taste sugar and salt better, and has hundreds more pounds to spend on his family.
He is one of more than 5,000 people who have benefited from NHS Northumbria Healthcare's Stop Smoking services.
NHS Northumberland says smokers are four-times more likely to give up smoking if they access one of their free services.
It comes as the Government releases a new hard-hitting advert to deter people from smoking. The advert shows a smoker's cigarette growing a tumour.
A campaign to rid Middlesbrough of discarded cigarette litter will be launched in the town later today.
The initiative follows a string of complaints from residents to Cllr Habib Rehman who has said he wants to appeal to members of the public to consider other residents and the environment, and to dispose of their waste responsibly.
The campaign will be launched at Teesside University with Streetscene staff who will distribute cigarette stub pouches to students.
The team will also offer information and advice on the environmental effects of dropping cigarette litter, and the following day leaflets will be distributed in the ward on smoking-related environmental and health issues.
A newsagent from Tyneside has lent his support to a making packets of cigarettes plain.
The ‘Plain Packs Protect’ campaign is pushing for cigarettes to be sold in standardised packaging and is backed by organisations including FRESH and the British Heart Foundation.
But Tim Marron, from the Tobacco Retailers Association, who owns four shops in Newcastle, does not agree with the idea.
– Tim Marron, Newcastle retailer
This is a fantastic opportunity for the pirates as it will make it far easier to copy cigarettes and people could be buying 20 sticks of anything. So that's a reason not to do it.
I also think if children want to smoke they will smoke. Plain packets won't make any difference.
John McClurey has run a newsagent in Newcastle for 30 years and says the introduction of plain packets will reduce the appeal of eye-catching brands.
– John McClurey, Newsagent.
Currently if a child sees a packet of cigarettes behind a shop counter or in someone’s hand, they see bright innocent colours, glamorous designs and distinctive holograms – all of which appeal to children to make them think that smoking is a normal or cool thing to do.
A campaign highlighting the facts about secondhand smoke will be launched later. Television and radio adverts will show smoking by a window or the backdoor is not enough toprotect children from secondhand smoke.
Over 80 per cent of secondhand smoke is invisible and it contains harmful cancer causing poisons. In the North East 99% of children wish their parents would stop smoking. 85% of children wish their parents would not smoke in front of them in a car.
It's No Smoking Day and smokers in the region are being urged to kick the habit. This year's theme is 'take the leap' in honour of the upcoming Olympic games. Organised by the British Heart Foundation, aims to reduce tobacco related death and illness by motivating smokers to quit