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One in two long term smokers will die early




SMOKERS in the North East are massively underestimating the risks as a new campaign reveals one in two long term smokers will die early - including people in their 40s.

The terrifying but true fact is the message in the new “Don’t be the 1” campaign from Fresh, who are urging the North East's 460,000 smokers to quit and live longer for their loved ones.

A smoker's risk of dying early from a tobacco related disease is infinitely more than the chances of being hit by a bus (around 2 in a million) or winning the National Lottery jackpot with six numbers (around 1 in 14 million).

A survey of North East smokers by Fresh found:

• 9 out of 10 smokers seriously underestimate their risks of dying of a smoking related illness, with some thinking only 1 in 20 smokers will die as a result.
• More than six out of ten smokers say their family worry about them smoking.
• Eight out of ten North East smokers wish they had never started
• 68% would like to see smoking become a thing of the past for future generations


A TV ad showing the impact of smoking on families will encourage smokers to click on for support to quit and to order a free Quit Kit online.


Anyone worried about a friend or relative smoking can also send an e-card telling them they care and urging them to stop.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "It is a shocking message but smoking tobacco is much more harmful than most people think. These are odds nobody would want.

"Quitting might not always be easy - but dying from a smoking related disease is much, much harder. Quitting lowers your risk of dying early at any age, but the sooner you quit, the better.

"This is why we are encouraging everyone who smokes to make a real effort to quit this time, because they have parents, partners, children, grandchildren who love them, worry about them and want them to be there."

She continued: "There are over 4000 smoking related deaths every year in the North East and each one tears apart a family. People get in touch with us suffering from diseases to say they wish they had quit sooner, or to tell us about loved ones who have died.

“We have taken the decision with our new campaign to show the reality of what smoking brings to many families across our region in the hope that many more people will quit.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said: "PHE welcomes this campaign from Fresh. Too many children become addicted to tobacco before they really understand about addiction, or the long term consequences of smoking. We applaud Fresh on this initiative and encourage  families to become involved in support by using the e-card. The right support from someone who cares can go a long way.


“Smoking damages every organ in the body and it is vital we ensure people are as informed as they can be about the risks.”

Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death in the North East:

• causing over a dozen types of cancer, heart disease, stroke and COPD, and increasing the risks of diabetes, dementia and blindness
• killing 11 people a day
• resulting in 30,000 hospital appointments and 460,000 GP appointments every year, costing the NHS in the region £110m a year
• reducing life expectancy by 10 years on average and increasing the chances of life-limiting incapacity in older age


Anyone who would like to quit smoking or send a message to a loved one to quit can click on