Smokers who use roll-ups are being urged to quit the habit as they could just be as deadly as normal cigarettes.
Officials at Fresh are warning that roll-ups are just as harmful as figures show 30 per cent of smokers in the north east smoke roll-ups as part of their overall tobacco consumption.
Public Health England has launched a new campaign this week to highlight how smoking damages the body. The campaign also tackles misconceptions around hand-rolled tobacco, or roll-ups.
Lisa Surtees, acting director of Fresh, said: “Most roll-up smokers are price conscious, and we have seen an increase since the start of the recession. But some smokers also wrongly believe it contains fewer chemicals.
“The truth is that the tobacco inside is full of the same toxic chemicals as manufactured cigarettes. If it is smoked without a filter it can actually be more harmful for the smoker.
“Hand rolled will kill one in two long term smokers, just the same as all cigarettes.”
Coun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member for public health, said: “Many smokers make a New Year resolution to quit.
“Smokers may have tried before to quit and not managed to do so, but we urge them to never give up trying.”
“With the individual advice, support and encouragement our Stop Smoking Service provides, smokers are more likely to succeed and set themselves up for a healthier, wealthier, smoke-free 2015.”
Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “Whilst many smokers know the damage cigarettes do to their hearts and lungs, they are much less likely to be aware of how harmful smoking is to the body – essentially ‘rotting’ it from the inside out, and roll-ups are no exception.
“January is a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their health and try to stop smoking. Millions of people have used Smokefree support and we are hoping that this year, even more will take advantage of the free expertise and resources on offer.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England, added: “Much of the harm caused by smoking doesn’t become obvious until middle age but the invisible damage can start shockingly early – even by the late teens.
“The earlier a smoker quits the better, but quitting at any age can help reverse at least some of the damage. That’s why there is no time better than now to quit. Stop smoking and stop the rot.”
Stop Smoking Services provide friendly advice, support and encouragement that is tailored to each person.
If you want to quit, you’re up to four times more likely to succeed with local NHS Stop Smoking Service support.
For more information call North Tyneside NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0345 2000 101 or visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree