Quit smoking message for North East summer campaign

A North East doctor’s hopeful “it’s never too late to quit smoking” message aims to inspire tens of thousands of smokers to quit this summer.
Dr Ruth Sharrock.Dr Ruth Sharrock.
Dr Ruth Sharrock.

Dr Ruth Sharrock, a respiratory consultant, is the face of the Don’t Wait campaign giving new hope to smokers that they can stop and see a massive benefit in how they feel, even if they have smoked for many years.

The Fresh (North East regional programme for tobacco control) initiative launches as a new study by the React programme at Imperial College London into long Covid found smoking to be one of the factors linked to a higher chance of experiencing long-lasting symptoms.

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Dr Sharrock, who is also clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “If you smoke, the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and extend your life expectancy is to stop smoking.

“The benefits of quitting are real. As well as reducing the risk of serious disease, it can make you feel so much better, give you more energy and help you to breathe more easily.

“Even among people who have smoked for decades, it can give people a new lease of life and the energy to get out and enjoy life with their children and grandchildren. It is never too late.”

Medical research shows the lungs can even repair some of the damage caused by smoking – but only if you stop completely.

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Improvements have been seen even in patients who had smoked a pack a day for 40 years before giving up.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “We know that some smokers can feel pessimistic about their chances of success, but there is so much to be gained from quitting.

“Smoking is still one of our biggest causes of death, disease, hospital admissions and health inequalities in the North East, but there was a surge in quit attempts in 2020 and an incredible two out of five smokers in the North East took a positive step towards quitting.

“This is why we are running these important messages for smokers again this summer.”

For quitting information and support in Northumberland, call 01670 813135 or go to www.northumbria.nhs.uk/stopsmoking