Smokers in South Tyneside are being encouraged to start afresh and support a smoke free generation this New Year by getting help to quit their habit.
A recent YouGov survey found that 88 per cent of people in the North East want to make smoking a thing of the past for future generations.
Now parents and carers are being urged to play their part in creating smoke-free homes for their children.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said: “We have pledged to reduce smoking rates to five per cent by 2025. This would be around 16,000 fewer smokers in the borough, which would help to protect future generation.
“Whilst it is good news that 65 per cent of children live in smoke-free homes in South Tyneside and 80 per cent of mums-to-be do not smoke, we want to improve quit rates still further.
“New Year is the perfect time to make a fresh start and lead by example. Quitting smoking will not only improve your own health, it will also help to give our next generation the best start in life.”
She added: “Stopping smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health. Although smoking rates have decreased in the last five years, almost 400 people die in South Tyneside every year as a result of smoking.
“The good news is that there is plenty of support available and, with determination and willpower, people can kick the habit.”
The council’s Change4Life Stop Smoking Service offers local, specialist support either one-to-one or in a group.
One person, who is starting the New Year smoke-free is Jarrow woman Carrie Burnage.
Carrie successfully managed to cut down the number of cigarettes to two a day but struggled to quit completely. Her midwife referred her to the smoking cessation team at her local Children’s Centre.
Carrie and her partner, Michael, were given patches and now the couple have been completely off cigarettes for almost a year.
Carrie said: “I was only on the patches for three weeks but they really helped. I have now been smoke-free for nearly a year and feel amazing. I breathe better and have a lot more energy. I gave up because I wanted to give my child the best start in life.
“When you become a mam you realise that you want to have the longest life possible to spend with your child and quitting smoking is definitely one of the best ways to achieve that.”
Smokers keen to quit are encouraged to visit www.change4lifesouthtyneside.co.uk and get healthy tips and advice on facebook @C4LSouthTyneside and twitter @Change4LifeST.