Smoking Survivors

Smoking Survivors is our new 2023 campaign highlighting the shocking, raw and life-changing experiences from former smokers in the North East.

Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer and death in the UK and causes 16 different types of cancer.  Cathy and Sue are two real life “survivors” who were diagnosed with cancer from smoking while still in their 40s.

They are sharing their emotional, at times graphic but also hopeful and inspirational stories to encourage the region’s 314,000 smokers to quit.

Our call to action is to encourage people to “put smoking behind you” and to “make a fresh quit”, and to visit the regional quitting hub for tips and local support at

Smoking Survivors” is NHS branded and first ran in June for four weeks across the North East with advertising:

  • On television across ITV, ITVX (TV catch up)
  • Radio (Capital, Smooth, Metro. TFM, Greatest Hits) and Facebook with supporting PR and social media
  • Outdoor media on sites across the region (see below)
  • Facebook and Instagram

We ran subsequent phases in September 2023 and another in November, with another phase planned for New Year 2023/24

Cathy's story

Sue's story

Smoking survivors has been one of the most positively received campaigns Fresh has ran with both regional and national acclaim, and with wide recognition and impact across areas and ages:

  • 73% of smokers or recent quitters saw or heard the campaign – most remembered live TV
  • 91% found it easy to understand
  • 71% – made them wish they didn’t smoke – only 1 in 4 did not experience an increase in desire to be a non-smoker
  • 66% were more concerned about smoking
  • 61% were more motivated by the benefits of quitting
  • ¾ said it was more relevant and impactful having real and local people featured

26% of smokers who saw the campaign cut down – 15% a lot

9% of smokers tried to quit

7% switched to vaping

46% in total took an action towards quitting – from trying to stop, switching to cutting down to talking to a partner or health professional  – an estimated 92,000 people