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Smoking rates in the North East have seen the largest fall in England. Rates almost halved from 29% in 2005 to 16.2% in 2017 - a fall of 44% and around a quarter of a million fewer people smoking.


After Fresh was set up in 2005, the decline in smoking fell at twice the national average for six years. Youth smoking rates have also fallen.


The region has also seen good progress to reduce maternal smoking- from 22.2% of women smoking at the time of delivery in 2009/10 down to 16% in 2016. This follows a concerted programme in the region working to implement NICE guidance, but there is never any room for complacency and much more needs to be done to build on the progress so far


What people have said about Fresh


  "...the importance of public health has never been greater. There is increasing recognition that we cannot afford to simply take a mop and bucket approach to smoking and other public health problems. We must do more to prevent them in the first place. There are some shining examples of achievement in the field of prevention, of which the North East region, represented by its regional tobacco office Fresh, is one." Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for England, 1998-2010.

"The Fresh team has worked with hundreds of local, regional and national partners. It has achieved through world-class programmes and developing passionate and committed leaders across various fields." NHS Leadership Awards 2014


"She (Sharon Hodgson, shadow Minister for Public Health) rightly mentioned Fresh North East, which is a very good example—it is in many ways the apple of my eye in this policy area". Steve Brine, MP and Minister for Public Health quoted on 16th May 2018 in a Westminster Hall parliamentary debate.



2009 - Gold Medal in the inaugural Chief Medical Officer's Public Health Awards in 2009.

2013 - Charles Cully Memorial Medal, Irish Cancer Society.

2014 - NHS Leadership Recognition Award for Outstanding Collaborative Leadership.

2014 - Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh received a World Health Organisation World No Tobacco Day medal.

2016 - Work on maternal smoking awarded first prize at Public Health England National Conference.

2017 - Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours for services to tobacco control and dedicated this medal to the team and the thousands of others who are committed to making smoking history.


In addition, the Fresh media campaigns have won a string of accolades include the Grand Prix prize for "Don't be the 1" campaign at the Roses Creative Awards in 2014 as well as recognition by the CIPR.


Mortality rates from smoking

related diseases. Directly

Standardised Rate per

100,000 population

2005 2010 % Change
Lung Cancer 55.75 51.30 -8.0%
All Cancers 204.39 189.62 -9.3%
Coronary Heart Disease 118.82 80.61 -32.2%
Acute Myocardial Infarction 48.54 29.78 -38.6%

COPD (Chronic Bronchitis

and Emphysema and other)

38.66 33.26 -13.9%
Ciculatory Disease 246.74 177.43 -28.1%