NORTH East smokers are being urged to make a fresh start as part of the Great North Fitness Revolution.
With the time for New Year resolutions approaching, many people will be pledging to kick the habit.
And with figures showing a record number of people in the region have quit smoking in the last year, now is the time to join our campaign to improve the health of the region.
Ailsa Rutter, director of North East anti-smoking group Fresh, said: “Last year was a record-breaking year here in the North East for people quitting smoking.
“Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health – and quitting will be the best gift you can give your loved ones this Christmas too.
“We have fantastic stop smoking services in the North East which help people to quit smoking.
“Your best chance of quitting is through the NHS Stop Smoking Services. People who use the services are up to four times as likely to stop, than if they go it alone.
“I would urge anyone who is thinking about stopping smoking to give it a go. Get in touch with your local stop smoking service and help make your 2012 a happier, healthier and wealthier year.”
NHS statistics show 26,038 people quit smoking successfully with the region’s six NHS stop smoking services from April 2010 to March 2011 – 553 more than in the previous year and an increase of 2.2%.
Northumberland couple Tracey and Matt Henderson are among those benefiting from healthier lifestyles after kicking the habit.
Mum-of-two Tracey, from Bellingham, said: “Matt and I gave up together five years ago and knowing that he was there, going through the same as me, really helped.
“If either of us had cravings for a cigarette, we could keep each other going.
“The first few months weren’t easy, but it’s five years since we quit and we haven’t looked back.” Christine Dryden, stop smoking service manager for Newcastle and North Tyneside, said there are a range of ways people can get support.
“The stop smoking service has a variety of NHS approved aids to help tackle the addiction, such as nicotine replacement therapy, Varenicline or Buproprion.
“Speak to your local stop smoking service adviser and they can help find the right treatment for you.”
The Great North Fitness Revolution is encouraging as many people as possible to make even small improvements to their lifestyles.
The campaign – a joint initiative between The Journal and Nova International, organisers of the Bupa Great North Run – was launched to try to improve health and combat the North East’s position as the second most obese region in Europe.