HEALTH leaders in Hartlepool have thrown their backing behind ambitious plans towards making smoking history.
Smoking campaigners Fresh North East unveiled their aspirations to have no more than five per cent of the region smoking by the year 2025.
It was unanimously backed by members of Hartlepool’s Health and Wellbeing Board.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said the North East had fallen massively in the last 50 years.
But she said despite the region seeing the largest fall in tobacco smoking rates between 2005 and 2011, from 29 to 21 per cent, it was still responsible for more than 5,000 deaths every year.
Ms Rutter told the Health and Wellbeing Board: “We have come a long way but we can’t take another 50 years to make serious progress.
“It is only through all of us working together we can achieve this. It is necessary to move the boundaries from tobacco control to one where we reach a tobacco free future.”
Fresh has decided to take the lead with its Making Smoking History Partnership after the current National Tobacco Plan for England ends in 2015.
Other local Health and Wellbeing boards are being asked to sign up to the vision to help influence political manifestos and future planning around smoking.
Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We should all get behind it.”