Thousands of smokers in South Tyneside are being urged to try and kick the habit next week.
It is No Smoking Day on Wednesday, March 14, and the call to quit comes as new figures suggest smokers in the North East are making more successful attempts to quit than elsewhere in the country.
But more than one person a day still dies of a smoking related disease in South Tyneside.
University College London figures show that, in the past 10 years in the North East, around 18.3% of people who tried to quit smoking were successful, compared with 15.7% of people nationally.
Anti-smoking group Fresh is also encouraging smokers who’ve struggled to quit so far to consider switching completely to an e-cigarette – significantly less harmful than smoking and now the most popular way to quit smoking in the UK.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “We are urging smokers never to give up on quitting. It is great to see the figures showing smokers in the North East have a better chance at quitting – and we have had the biggest fall in smoking since 2005.
“Don’t get disheartened if you didn’t quit first time, and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You can come back more determined and better prepared next time.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said: “Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health.
“With so many aids and support available, there really has never been a better time to stop smoking than No Smoking Day.”
She added: “I would urge everyone interested in quitting to contact our Change4Life team on 0191 424 7300.”
Laraine McLoskey, from South Shields, quit smoking after a heart attack in March 2017 completely changed her life.
She said: “I suffered a heart attack and had to undergo surgery. I stopped smoking there and then and haven’t touched a cigarette since.
“There isn’t much better an incentive to quit smoking than having a heart attack but not everyone survives one.”
Ways to quit include:
*Use stop smoking services. With expert specialist help smokers are up to four times more likely to quit.
*Switch to e-cigarettes. There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking.
*Using a quitting aid like nicotine patches or a stop smoking medicine such as Champix.
*There are a range of tools online such as the Smokefree App, email and text support from NHS Smokefree, or call the National Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044.
For support and advice on quitting smoking in South Tyneside call the local stop smoking service on: (0191) 4247300 or visit