A new campaign has been launched to warn of the dangers of smoking.
New figures show that 104 patients are admitted every day to North East hospitals as a result of smoking-related illnesses – equating to more than 38,000 people a year.
Public Health England (PHE) are releasing a new TV advert highlighting the dangers of tar in cigarettes.
The latest campaign shows how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream, spreading to every part of the body within seconds and causing damage to all major organs.
Fresh and North East chest physician Dr Robert Allcock are now urging the North East’s 390,000 smokers to give quitting another try this New Year.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “People are often shocked when they find out the poisons that go into the bloodstream when you light a cigarette.
“The good news is that no matter how long you’ve smoked, quitting at any age reduces your chances of developing cancer, heart and lung disease and other serious smoking-related illnesses.
“No matter how many times you have tried to quit, it is always worth trying again and make this time the one you quit for good.”
Dr Robert Allcock, a respiratory consultant at the QE Hospital in Gateshead, said: “Every time someone smokes a cigarette, they inhale tar and poisons which damage the lungs, and which enter the bloodstream to cause further damage to the heart, the brain, and all the major organs of the body.
“The poisons from cigarettes cause permanent damage to DNA and increase the risk of cancer.
“I see the harm from smoking in my clinics every week.
“Smoking is still the biggest issue that dominates my job and the job of my colleagues, and it dominates the experiences of too many of our patients.
“The burden of illness and suffering that people endure as a result of tobacco remains enormous.
“As a doctor one of the hardest things I do is to explain to someone that they have lung cancer caused by their smoking.
“It’s the moment when a person realises that this thing that’s been a normal part of their life for as long as they can remember is also the thing that means they are unlikely to be alive in 1 or 2 years’ time.
“It’s a horrible thing to see; a look of sadness and regret.”
Prof Peter Kelly, Centre Director for Public Health England North East, said: “Smoking is a deadly addiction.
“Over the last three years, smoking has killed over 16,000 people in the North East and for every death, another 20 smokers have a smoking-related disease.
“There are around 38,000 North East smokers admitted to hospital every year due to smoking-related illnesses.
“Our new TV ad shows how every cigarette sends a flood of poisonous chemicals through the bloodstream in seconds.
“We are urging every smoker in the North East to take advantage of the free Smokefree support and quit for good this New Year.”
Smokefree provides motivation, information and support for smokers who want to stop. Just search ‘Smokefree’ for free support and advice to help you quit smoking.