New figures show that 13,000 children in the North East were admitted to hospital with smoking related problems last year.
The news comes as the Government launches its latest anti-smoking campaign warning people of the dangers of passive smoking.
TV and online adverts in England will outline the risk to children of people lighting up in cars and homes.
More top news
A teacher has been banned from the classroom for life after an affair with a 16-year-old girl who he told he wanted to run away with.
Durham County Council is warning people will be investigated and face prosecution if they are caught fly-tipping during Christmas.
Burglars broke into a newly married couple's home while they were on honeymoon and stole both wedding and Christmas presents.