Record year for North East smokers trying to quit

New figures show last year was a record year for quitting smoking in the North East – but smoking is still our biggest killer and drain on the NHS.

The figures from the NHS Information Centre reveal that 25,485 people quit smoking successfully with the six NHS Stop Smoking Services in the North East during March 2009 to April 2010 – a rise of 14% more people than last year.

Nearly 13% of all North East smokers made a quit attempt through the NHS last year – the highest rate of any other region.

However, the annual report also shows smoking is still a big problem to tackle.

The North East has seen the biggest drop in smoking in England, from 29% of adults regularly smoking in 2005 to just 21% smoking in 2008, but it still kills around 15 people a day, and for every death another 20 people suffer from smoking related conditions as a result.

Professor Stephen Singleton, Regional Director for Public Health, said: “Here in the North East smoking was part of daily life for too many years but we have tackled the problem head on and achieved the biggest drop in smoking in the country.”

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “The good news is that the North East has the best NHS Stop Smoking Services in the country. They’re by far the best chance for anyone who has tried but failed, or wants to really give themselves the best chance of quitting.

There’s been a massive change in the way smoking is now seen, and this has spurred on tens of thousands of people to quit, or try to do everything they can to stop their children from starting smoking in the first place.

People can access help by phoning the County Durham and Darlington NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01388 742547, by phoning the NHS Helpline on 0800 022 4 332 or click on

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