Fresh was the UK’s first dedicated regional tobacco control programme, set up in the North East in 2005 to address (then) the worst rate of smoking-related illness and death in England.
Smoking rates in the North East have more than halved, from 29% of adults smoking in 2005 to 13.1% of adults smoking in 2022. However, approximately 313,000 NE adults still smoke, and the latest evidence shows that up to two in every three long-term smokers are killed by tobacco.
Tobacco control has a strong and established evidence base that goes back several decades. The first major report on how to address smoking was Smoking and Health, by the Royal College of Physicians in 1962.
The best use of efforts at the population level is to focus on adult smokers, to raise motivation to quit and offer support, and in doing so to change the world our children grow up in.
We are never anti-smoker and recognise that smoking is an addiction that nearly always starts in childhood and smokers need support and encouragement to quit.
We have developed and ran award-winning and effective media campaigns such as Don’t Wait, Quit 16, Don’t be the 1 and Keep It Out. We also monitor and respond to emerging issues and opportunities including illegal tobacco, vaping, smokefree housing and supporting the NHS to implement cost effective life-saving guidance.
Fresh has been highlighted in national tobacco control plans and recognized by the World Health Organisation.
Fresh is a core member of the Smokefree Action Coalition calling for action at national level from smokefree legislation to standardised plain packaging and raising the age of sale from 18 to 21.
Fresh is hosted by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and based alongside the Balance programme. Together we are working to address the harms from both tobacco and alcohol.
Smoking costs the North East over £992m a year in healthcare, social care and lost earnings
Over 117,000 people have died in the North East from smoking-related diseases since the year 2000
2 in 3
Up to 2 in 3 long term smokers will die from a smoking related disease
Smoking is the number one cause of cancer in the UK causing 16 types
13.1% of people smoke in the North East
4/10 North East households where someone is a smoker are living in poverty
Around 30% of all smokers in the UK have a mental health condition
Nearly 3/4 of the public in the North East support raising the age of sale to create a smokefree generation
Fresh's 'Every Breath' campaign has raised awareness that smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has been supported by the British Lung Foundation (now Asthma + Lung UK).
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 […]
Explore more Fresh pages
What we do
Fresh delivers a programme of eight key strands of activity all designed to work together to reduce smoking prevalence. She outlines the role of prevention and regional working in the North East.
Illicit Tobacco Partnership
The Illicit Tobacco Partnership is led by Fresh, the comprehensive tobacco control programme based in the North East of England.
A smokefree vision
Dr Ruth Sharrock is a lung cancer lead and Respiratory Consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and the Clinical Lead for Tobacco Dependency for the North East & North Cumbria.