North East public support for a smokefree generation
People across the North East are already having their say on ending our biggest cause of cancer and creating a smokefree generation in two new videos from Fresh.
Fresh visited Ashington, Blyth and Seaton Carew and the public response was overwhelming positively towards the UK-wide Government consultation which is aimed at protecting future generations from the harms of smoking.
Supporting a “smokefree generation”
Ending our biggest cause of cancer
Fresh has welcomed the launch of a consultation by the Government with the aim of creating a ‘smokefree generation’. It includes raising the age of sale for tobacco making it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products, as well as outlining further restrictions around vaping products to prevent children accessing.
Tobacco is the biggest cause of cancer, ill health and early death in the UK, fuelling health inequalities and killing 2 in 3 smokers early. It’s the single most important entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability and death in the country and costs the region nearly £1 billion a year in health and social care and impact to the economy.
78% of North East adults support ending smoking with a target of fewer than 5% smoking by 2030 (YouGov).
Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: “Nobody wants their children or grandchildren to smoke, whether they smoke or not. My own dad Stewart died from smoking far too young at the age of just 61. Bold action across the UK is not only needed but it is wanted.
“This shows the first priority from people all over our region is to protect children from the biggest cause of cancer and most lethal addiction ever created.
“The North East has made huge progress with the biggest fall in smoking in England since 2005 – but it is time to give our next generation a better life with decisive and bold action across the UK”.
Amanda Healy, Durham County Council’s Director of Public Health and Chair of the Association of Directors of Public Health North East Network, said: “The North East has suffered the worst harms from smoking over many decades – on our families, in our communities and on our hospital wards. Most families have lost a loved one to smoking.
“It is right the region now has its say on making smoking a thing of the past for young people and the burden it places on their health and their lives. We will be encouraging all our partners to respond to this consultation to make a once-in-a-generation difference.
Talking to FRESH , Eddy from Spennymoor in County Durham said: “I’ve got 2 little children, and I would worry if I saw that they were smoking. If they do grow up in a smoke free society, that would be one of the best things in life.”
Smoking is the single most entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability, and death in the UK. It is responsible for around 80,000 deaths a year, including about 64,000 deaths per year in England (as reported by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in Local tobacco control profiles).
The North East has seen the largest fall in adult smoking rates in England since 2005 with smoking more than halving from 29% of adults smoking in 2005 to 13.1% smoking in 2022. But tobacco still costs the North East nearly £1 billion a year in medical, health and social care and lost earnings.
Smoking is still currently the largest cause of cancer – behind one in four cancer deaths – and leads to almost one hospital admission every minute with over 117,000 deaths in the North East since the year 2000.