Fresh was the UK's first dedicated regional tobacco control programme, set up in the North East in 2005 to tackle the worst rates of smoking-related illness and death in the country. Since then the North East has seen the largest fall in smoking in England, a fall of nearly a third with around 165,000 fewer smokers. While still too high, we also now have the lowest youth smoking rates and rates of women smoking during pregnancy on record for our region.
We aim to make smoking and the diseases it causes history for more families through providing the facts, the motivation and the confidence not to smoke. We also support a wide range of NHS and council partners to do more to cut smoking among adults and young people, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and to help them tackle illegal tobacco and other regulation issues. We run award winning media campaigns and have campaigned on key issues including smoke free law, protecting children from smoking in cars, and standardized, plain packaging.
Our programme includes a small team working in partnership with the NHS and local authorities with links to regional and national networks such as Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK.
The Fresh programme was based on ground-breaking work in the US to help change social norms around smoking, which achieved dramatic reductions in tobacco use among children and adults, and we follow an international evidence base to reduce smoking rates.
All local authorities within the North East have given the programme support from the start and are vital partners in reducing smoking.