Scientists from the region are backing a campaign which argues that smoking just 15 cigarettes could eventually lead to a cancerous tumour - that is a total of 15 overall - not 15 per day.
More than 3000 people died of smoking-related cancers in the North East and Cumbria in 2010.
Even though the number of smokers in the region is falling, campaigners say too many people are still dying unecessarily.
Dan Ashby's report contains some disturbing images.
You can watch his full report below.
More top news
A teenager told a court today (July 27) that he wrote about planning a violent attack at his former college so people would talk to him.
The summer holidays have got off to a very damp start. Heavy rain fell in parts of the region overnight and it's continued today.
The largest free event in the North East attracted almost a million people to the seafront at Roker and Seaburn.