Health leaders urge smokers to quit for New Year's resolutions

Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh and Balance.Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh and Balance.
Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh and Balance.
Smokers are being urged to quit for their New Year resolutions for family, better health and their finances.

An online drive is getting underway with smokers in the region being offered the chance to sign up for online support with the Smoke Free app.

The free app gives people 24/7 support when they need it the most and can be downloaded with an eligible postcode within the North East and North Cumbria at

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Officials also say that quitting smoking can save more than £1,600 a year if they smoke ten cigarettes a day.

After Danny Patterson’s dad was diagnosed with smoking related bladder cancer, he knew he had to stop smoking but it was three years before the death of a friend and a return to the UK to look after his mum forced him to re-assess what he was doing and take action to quit.

Danny, 30, from North Shields, said: “When I quit, I was on 10-15 a day.

"My dad had cancer a few times – bladder cancer. He was first diagnosed 3 years ago, they said it was because he smoked.

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"He had quit 10 years before, but the doctor said it was because he had smoked for so long.

"That was what initially put the idea in my head – I knew I needed to think about stopping.

“I had been living in Thailand for six years, teaching English. A guy I knew died of lung cancer in 2021 and then my mum got sick in the UK and needed a heart operation.

"I decided to come home to look after her and I thought: when I get back to England, I am going to stop smoking.

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“I have wanted to stop for years, and I am so glad I did. My mum was always desperate for me to stop smoking too, especially after my dad’s cancer diagnosis, so she is over the moon.”

Dr Ruth Sharrock, clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Smokefree NHS/Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce, said: “If you smoke the single most important thing you can do to improve your health is to stop smoking.

“If you’re quitting the best chance of success is through a local stop smoking service supporting you through and getting the right medication and quitting aids to beat the cravings.

“It is never too late to quit smoking – even if you have smoked for years and have tried before.

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"Your lungs and body start to recover from the moment you stop and you reduce the risk of serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, COPD and stroke.”

Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh and Balance, said: “Quitting smoking is one of the biggest gifts you can give to your loved ones.

"Children worry immensely about parents and grandparents smoking – they want them to be around for the important moments in life.

“Every cigarette is damaging your lungs and your health – but every pack smoked is also draining the bank balance. When you add the money up we are talking about thousands.”

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