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Tobacco deaths during 12 days of Christmas

NEW figures out in time for New Year show that around 174 people will have died in the North East from smoking by the end of the 12 days of Christmas. And nearly 1200 people will have been admitted to hospital from smoking.


Smoking kills around 5,300 people in the North East each year – nearly 15 deaths a day - and results in around 36,200 people being admitted to hospital – around 99 people a day.


Fresh is urging smokers to make it their New Year resolution to quit in 2020 to reduce their risks and to be around longer for more Christmases with their loved ones.


Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: "Smoking related diseases and the tobacco companies do not take Christmas off. I sadly lost my own father at Christmas 2001 from smoking related COPD and every Christmas since has been tinged with sadness and regret and all we have missed out on as a family.


"Each Christmas, 15 people a day will have died from smoking and 15 people a day will continue to die throughout 2020. That means by next Christmas, another 5,300 people will have died from smoking.


"We're encouraging people to make it their New Year resolution to be quit by the end of 2020 and most importantly, don't be put off if you've tried before but not succeeded - failed quit attempts can be a stepping stone towards quitting for good. There's lots of help and support out there. Thousands of smokers have also quit by switching to vaping which is significantly less harmful than smoking."


She added: "Smoking kills one in two long term smokers early, many in middle age, and is by far our biggest preventable killer and cause of ill health. We now need concerted action at national level to further cut smoking, to help more children not to start and to ensure smokers get the support they need to quit.


"The tobacco companies make vast profits from the addiction they fuel and the misery they create – more than Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, FedEx, Google, McDonalds and Starbucks combined. It is time they are treated as the polluter and made to pay towards national, regional and local efforts to reduce smoking."


Your local stop smoking service can offer friendly support to improve your chances of stopping:


Thinking of quitting? Here's 10 tips you might not have considered If you've tried before, here are some important tips to think about to help get you on your way.


1. Many smokers who quit report they woke up and felt "today is the day". Willpower is vital but you're much more likely to succeed if you combine that determination to quit with specialist stop smoking service support and stop smoking aids.


2. Some people are put off trying again by failed quit attempts in the past, but think of these as a stepping stone rather than a failure! Try to make at least one quit attempt a year until you manage to stop for good, whether that's for Stoptober, New Year, Stoptober or whatever reason you have. If you try at least once a year, you really improve your chance of being quit.


3. You might think smoking relieves stress – but it can make stress worse. Most smokers can relate to withdrawal symptoms like irritability, poor concentration and cravings if they've gone without a cigarette in a while. Smoking only reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms, similar to the symptoms of anxiety, but it does not reduce anxiety or deal with the underlying causes.


4. Many smokers just stop and go "cold turkey." But give yourself the best chance and use a quit aid – whether that is a Nicotine Replacement Therapy like patches and gums, or a stop smoking medication prescribed by a GP, pharmacist or other health professional or even switching completely to vaping. The significant health problems are caused by other components in tobacco smoke and not by the nicotine.


5. If you've struggled to quit with quitting aids previously, then why not try switching completely to an e-cigarette? Research shows they are much less harmful than smoking.


6. Get some quit coaching. Local Stop Smoking Services provides expert advice, support and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good. Combining quit aids with expert support makes it much more likely you'll stop smoking successfully.


7. Why not consider free online support such as the Smokefree App, text messages or Facebook messenger? Visit the NHS Smokefree website where you can sign up to the Personal Quit Plan and find lots of free support to help you stop for good.


8. Think of your health. Chemicals in tobacco smoke enter our blood stream and can then affect the entire body. This is why smoking causes so many diseases, including 16 types of cancer, heart disease and lung diseases.


9. Think of how much money you could save! Someone smoking 10 cigarettes a day can expect to pay up to £1,807 a year, £150 a month and £34.75 a week. For a couple that means up to £3,614 a year, £300 a month and around £69.50 a week.


10. Get support from family and friends – their support can go a long way. If your partner smokes, why not quit together?