A dad is calling on fellow Wearsiders to ditch the fags and lead a healthier life following his own successful quit attempt.
Figures released by anti-smoking group Fresh ahead of this year’s Stoptober campaign show that in 2017 nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully, which is the equivalent to 1,069 smokers each day or one person every 80 seconds.
Despite new smokers starting and ex-smokers relapsing, North East smoking rates have fallen by 44% since 2005, when 29% of North East adults smoked down to 16.2% of people in 2017 – around a quarter of a million fewer people smoking.
Nathan Freeman quit smoking after receiving support through his pharmacy.
The dad-of-three says he is already feeling “immense” benefits to his health enabling him to spend more time with his family.
“When I was younger, I didn’t really think about the damage I was doing to my health,” said production controller Nathan, who lives in Hylton Castle.
“But now I’m getting older, I started to notice that I was struggling for breath when walking uphill and was panting and puffing.
“I thought, ‘this is ridiculous’ and knew I had to do something about it, not just for me, but for my family.
“In the past, I had thought that I could just stop on my own, but this time I decided to get some support.
“The staff at the pharmacy have been excellent and understand what you are going through.
“I find the weekly checks are good for my motivation and there is also financial assistance with nicotine replacement therapies, such as nasal sprays, which I found helpful.”
Fresh’s Ailsa Rutter said: “We’d urge smokers who have struggled to quit before to take heart from the hundreds of thousands of other people who have stopped for good.
“If we are to get smoking down to 10% and under, it will be vital that our GP surgeries and hospitals also play a major part to support smokers to quit with effective treatment.”
Councillor Geoffrey Walker, portfolio holder for health and social care at Sunderland City Council, said: “Research shows that if you stop smoking for 28 days or more then you are five times more likely to quit for good.
“Stoptober has helped over one million people quit across the country, and is the biggest mass quit attempt.
“It provides a great opportunity for people who want to quit to start their journey.”
Those wanting to quit smoking can contact the Live Life Well team, on 0800 107 0741 or 0191 565 3482, or visit www.livelifewell.org.uk