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Smokers urged to try again



Smokers are being urged not to give up on quitting – as new research shows most North East smokers are making quit attempts and many are cutting down.

A recent survey by Fresh shows that over 8 in 10 North East smokers have tried to quit smoking before and 2/3 of smokers have tried more than once.

It also shows many smokers are cutting down with 1 in five smokers consuming five or fewer cigarettes a day compared to 1 in 10 in 2009, and the "average" smoker is on 12 a day compared to 18 a day in 1974.

Fresh is now encouraging smokers to try again this summer and not be put off by previous attempts, as every quit attempt is different. Local stop smoking services can also boost the odds of success with all services in the North East now welcoming people using electronic cigarettes to stop.


Mum and daughter double-act Beccy and Jordon Crutchley, from Scotswood, Newcastle, are quitting smoking together for the Great North Run.


Mum Beccy, who works in retail, has smoked on and off over the last three decades. Jordon, a 23-year-old hospital receptionist, started smoking when she was around 15. Together, the pair hope to quit cigarettes for good and become fitter and healthier at the same time.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh said: "People sometimes get disheartened that they've tried to quit and not succeeded, but if you've tried before, you can also come back wiser and more prepared. Even if you have tried before loads of times, it makes absolutely no difference to your chances of success next time. Thousands of people are quitting every year and next time it could be you!

"We know there is the will and the drive to quit here in the North East. It is good to see people are cutting down, but light smoking is still very harmful so we'd urge smokers to give it another go this summer and have at least one go at quitting every year."

After the age of around 35-40 years, for every day you carry on smoking you will lose an average of six hours of life .

But the moment you stop then you start to recover this life expectancy at a rate of around six hours a day. That means quitting is always urgent, but it's never too late. It doesn't matter how young or old you are – there are always massive benefits.

While many smokers choose to go it alone, there is a range of free quit coaching on offer at stop smoking services across the region which can seriously boost people's chances of success.


Councillor Margaret Hall of North Tyneside Council, whose Cabinet portfolio covers Public Health, said: "We know that quitting smoking can feel like a challenge and would encourage smokers never to give up trying to quit."


To quit smoking, pop into your GP surgery or community pharmacy for a free personal quit plan, discounted or free stop smoking medication and lots of encouragement.


Top 10 tips for quitting smoking this summer

1. Everyone is different – some successful quit attempts are planned, but many quit attempts are completely unplanned. Planning can help you prepare mentally but if you suddenly feel like quitting, then go for it! Don't feel you have to build up and prepare each time you quit!


2. Work out when you're most likely to smoke and change your routine to avoid those situations for a while. Research suggests one of the most powerful reasons people go back to smoking is finding themselves in the situations they associate with smoking.


3. Make a list of reasons in your head – health, the people you care about, fitness. If you are ever tempted to smoke, stop and remember these reasons. Most children whose parents smoke worry about it and are incredibly relieved if they quit.


4. Think about quitting smoking as a pay rise. A 12 a day budget brand smoker buying in bulk (five packs of 18 cigarettes) is spending about £32 a week, £138 a month and £1664 a year on cigarettes. That could buy you a lot of things....


5. Get the best support – there's loads of help, advice and support available from your local Stop Smoking Service – they can prepare you and coach you throughout the process. Your local pharmacist can also talk you through some of the best medication if you feel you need something to beat the cravings.


6. Lean on family and friends for support – make sure you talk to people close to you to get their support to help you stay quit. Quitting with a friend or partner can boost your chances also.


7. Consider an electronic cigarette to help stay free of tobacco. Ecigs are now the most popular quitting aid in the UK and are estimated to be around 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes.


8. Try some of the free tools to keep you going from the national Smokefree website – choose from the quitting app, text support or the Quit Kit. A lot of people find these daily alerts can keep them focused on the goal -


9. It is usually better to stop abruptly than cut down to quit. The risk with cutting down is that each remaining cigarette feels more rewarding and it creates a stronger link with the situation you smoke it in.


10. Don't feel disheartened if you fail – come back stronger and more determined!


Fact file

• 70% of North East smokers started smoking below the age of 18
• 55% of North East smokers say they regret starting to smoke a lot
• 81% of NE smokers have tried to quit before and 2/3 more than once
• Less than 1 in 5 smokers (17%) have never tried to quit
• The average number of cigarettes smoked by North East smokers is 12 a day compared to 18 a day in 1974
• Stopping smoking at any age is adding extra life – it adds 2–3 months of life for every year you don't smoke, 5–7 days in every month, and 5–6 hours a day.
• A 20-day smoker could save around £1,134 between now and Christmas if they quit.


To get your quit attempt underway, ask at your GP surgery or pharmacy, or contact your local stop smoking service for help and support to get your quit attempt underway:

Live Well Gateshead
0800 014 9092

South Tyneside Change 4 Life
0191 424 7300

Sunderland Live Life Well
0800 107 0741

Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service
01670 813 135

North Tyneside
0300 123 1044 (national quitline only)

Newcastle Lifeline
0191 269 1103

County Durham Smokefreelife
0800 772 0565

Tees (Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Hartlepool)
01642 383 819

0300 123 1044 (national quitline only)