If you smoke, you’ve probably tried to quit before. But a new campaign is warning at least 1 in every 2 long-term smokers will die from a smoking related disease.

Smoking cuts around 10 years off a person’s life on average and causes 16 types of cancer, heart disease, dementia and stroke. The more you smoke and longer you wait to quit the worse the risk. But the good news is that quitting smoking at any age dramatically reduces your risks and it is never too late to quit.

Gateshead Health is supporting the ‘Don’t be the 1’ campaign from Fresh, encouraging smokers all over the North East to put their health and family first and make 2023 the year to stop smoking. Quitting also puts money in your pocket for household bills, fuel or food, or even a trip away. If you smoke 10 a day, you could be spending nearly £40 a week and around £1,600 a year.

While it can take a number of attempts to successfully stop for good, there are lots of ways to stop which can take a lot of the stress out of quitting.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: “It is easy to under-estimate the health risks from smoking and put quitting off to another time.  However, even a few cigarettes a day can cause cancer and heart disease.

“We are urging people to think about quitting for their family.  Too many people lose loved ones far too early. Make 2023 the year you quit smoking!”

Your chances are improved if you use a quitting aid or switching completely to vaping to reduce cravings. Stop Smoking Services can also help you develop a plan to help you stop for good.

In addition to support from Fresh, all colleagues can also access support here at Gateshead. All colleagues can access free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products or a free refillable e-cigarette, as well as support from specialists or free access to an app.

How your body recovers when you quit:

After 20 minutes: Your pulse rate starts to return to normal.

After 8 hours : Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the level of harmful carbon monoxide in your blood will have reduced by half.

 After 48 hours: All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.

After 72 hours: If you notice that breathing feels easier, it’s because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy will be increasing.

 After 2-12 weeks: Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.

 After 6 weeks: Smokers who stop have better mental health than those who continue to smoke. One study found that benefits could be seen as soon as six weeks and were maintained even a number of years after stopping.

After 3-9 months: Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases.

After 1 year: Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker’s.

After 10 years: Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker’s.