Smoking plans extended

A CAMPAIGN group is urging Hartlepool and East Durham smokers who are suffering from breathing problems to consider quitting today.

And their renewed call to locals comes on the day they expanded their successful crackdown in the region to other parts of the UK.

Today is World COPD Day and around 87,000 people in the North-East are estimated to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

But over a third of those are not diagnosed.

Campaign group Fresh’s Every Breath campaign in the North-East is now being rolled out in the South West after it resulted in a large rise in the number of people quitting smoking in the North-East.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “The Every Breath campaign was a wake-up call to many smokers who thought that being short of breath was normal, when in many cases it is an early sign of COPD and it makes quitting even more urgent.”

NHS Stop Smoking Services and pharmacies across the region are experienced in helping smokers suffering from breathing problems to quit.

Figures from the NHS Information Centre revealed the first phase of FRESH’s campaign in October 2011 inspired a huge rise in the number of people quitting smoking with local NHS Stop Smoking Services during October to December 2011.

Statistics show:

• A 17 per cent increase in people setting quit dates through NHS Stop Smoking Services in the North East – compared to a 2.9 per cent rise nationally;

• A 21 per cent increase in people making it successfully to week four of their quit attempt compared to a 3.1 per cent rise nationally – suggesting North-East smokers were more motivated to quit;

• The North East NHS Stop Smoking Services as a whole outperforming all other regions following the Every Breath campaign;

• A survey following the campaign also found more than two thirds of North East smokers said it made them more likely to quit after seeing it;

To find your nearest service, pop into your local pharmacy or call the NHS Smokefree helpline on (0800) 0224332.