Taxpayers coughed up almost £1million to help smokers kick the habit in Sunderland last year.
New figures from the national Health and Social Care Information Centre show £957,768 was spent on support and drugs to help 1,914 people in 2014/15, an average of £500 each.
It is really important that moving forward we make quitting smoking the main priority, but that smokers who want to use stop smoking support know exactly where they can access the best type of help.Martyn Willmore
Across the region, the number of people looking for help to quit fell, but Martyn Willmore, of smoking health campaign Fresh, said that was a reflection of the changing way smokers were looking to kick the habit.
“The figures show the number of smokers using North East Stop Smoking Services in 2014/15 fell by 31% on the previous year,” he said.
“There are a number of reasons for the decline. One is more smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes, although every service in the North East is now e-cig friendly.
“We have also seen the North East suffer badly during the recession and we know worry and stress can play a role in undermining quitting.
“It is really important that moving forward we make quitting smoking the main priority, but that smokers who want to use stop smoking support know exactly where they can access the best type of help.”
Sunderland City Council is responsible for promoting public health on Wearside.
Coun John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: “You are four times more likely to quit with help from the Stop Smoking Service than going it alone.
“In Sunderland you can get support by contacting the Live Life Well Service.”
For details visit www.nhs.uk/Service-Search or call 0800 107 0741.