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Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

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Ditch or Switch from toxic tobacco this No Smoking Day

With one week to go until No Smoking Day (March 8) smokers in the North East are encouraged to “ditch or switch” to save money and improve health

Fresh is encouraging people to ditch their toxic tobacco or at least make the switch to a safer form of nicotine like an electronic cigarette.

With online tools to quit now increasingly popular, Fresh is also urging people to give their friends or family extra encouragement to quit for No Smoking Day by telling a friend or tagging them on Facebook.

This is also the first No Smoking Day in the UK where tobacco will be sold in plain, standardised packs. From May 21, all tobacco sold will be sold in drab green packs with larger graphic health warnings, and bright, colourful boxes which detract attention from the diseases caused by smoking will disappear from shelves.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “We know people worry about their loved ones smoking – especially children worrying about their mum or dad. No Smoking Day provides an ideal opportunity to take the first step and either quit, or encourage someone to stop.

“Having the support of friends and family can really help spur on people to succeed. It’s never too late to quit, even if you have tried before and not succeeded, it makes absolutely no difference to your chances of success next time.

“There’s also a wide range of free quit coaching on offer at stop smoking services across the region which can help boost people’s chances of success. And for anyone not ready to give up for good, a good starting point could be switching to an electronic cigarette, which is a far safer option.”

Smoking is the major reason for differences in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society. Cost is a major factor in quitting smoking and with budget day also on March 8, Fresh has encouraged the Government to continue to increase the price on tobacco and increase the price of hand rolled tobacco, and to introduce a tax on tobacco companies similar to the soft drink levy, which would pay for measures to reduce smoking.

A recent study funded by Cancer Research UK found that people who switched from smoking tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum or patches for at least six months had much lower levels of toxins and cancer causing chemicals than those who continued to smoke. But a complete switch was needed to get the health benefits.

By quitting or switching to a quality refillable e-cigarette model, people who smoke 15 cigarettes a day could save around:

* £45 a week – a trip to the cinema for four

* £200 per month

* £600 over three months – the equivalent of travel and a one-night stay for a family of four to London with a visit to the Harry Potter studio, plus an evening meal out

* £1,200 in six months – a four-night holiday for a family of four to Disneyland Paris

* £2,400 in one year – which would cover the cost of a family day trip (2 adults and 2 children) to meet Santa Claus in Lapland

All stop smoking services in the North East are electronic cigarette friendly. To get your quit attempt underway, ask at your GP surgery or pharmacy, or contact your local stop smoking service for help and support:

* Tees – Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-On-Tees and Hartlepool 01642 383 819

* Live Well Gateshead 0800 014 9092

* Newcastle Stop Smoking Service 0191 269 1103

* Smokefreelife County Durham 0800 772 0565

* Darlington 0300 123 1044 (national quitline)

* North Tyneside (for details of local sessions) 0191 643 7171

* Northumberland Stop Smoking Service 01670 813 135

* South Tyneside Change 4 Life 0191 424 7300

* Sunderland Live Life Well 0800 107 0741