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.
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The 40-year-old former England international has represented Durham in 22 of their 25 years.
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The first major stage of the restoration of the Spanish Dome in Whitley Bay has been completed.