Pack in for the sake of children

Ailsa Rutter
Ailsa Rutter

AN anti-smoking group has given its full backing to a Mail campaign to get the town into shape in Olympic year.

Fresh today praised the Hartlepool Mail for launching a bid to improve the town’s fitness before the games get under way in London in July.

Our Race For Fitness campaign aims to get more than 2012 Hartlepool and east Durham people to take up projects which will change their lives for the better.

That could be losing weight, taking up exercise, quitting cigarettes or alcohol, or any other activity which improves their fitness.

Fresh director Ailsa Rutter said: “Stopping smoking is the best thing anyone can do for their health and using an NHS stop smoking service is your best chance of quitting for good.

“You are up to four times more likely to succeed with the stop smoking service than if you go it alone.

“Every cigarette does you damage – whether that be health related or financially – and continuing to tackle tobacco is central to us achieving better health for our families, reducing the massive drain on the NHS and giving children the best start in life.”

Fresh also revealed the latest figures on smoking rates in Hartlepool which show 21.9 per cent of the adult population in town are still lighting up.

Ailsa added: “While smoking prevalence is falling in Hartlepool, from 24.5 per cent of the adult population in 2009/2010 to 21.9 per cent in 2010/2011, it is still higher than the England average which is 21 per cent.

“The Stockton and Hartlepool Stop Smoking Service has a great record on helping people to quit smoking. It is consistently in the top three in the country for the number of successful quitters. Last year it was second, with 1,936 people (per 100,000 population) successfully quitting.

“Hartlepool has also made a lot of progress in reducing the number of people smoking during pregnancy – dropping from 26.6 per cent to 22.6 per cent thanks to a concerted effort from the local stop smoking service. But again, this is still much higher than the England average, which is 13.5 per cent.”

The Stockton and Hartlepool NHS Stop Smoking Service can be contacted on (01642) 383819. Alternatively, people can phone the national Smoking Helpline 0800 012 1612 or click on