Don’t Wait to quit smoking this autumn – that’s the message from health campaigners and doctors in the North East as a new campaign urges people to think about how stopping can help both health and finances.

The Don’t Wait campaign from Fresh is reminding people of all the important reasons to break free from smoking. It launches alongside a new quit smoking platform for the North East at The website offers free advice and tips and links to local stop smoking services, a “quitting quiz” and a new smokefree savings calculator where you can work out how much you would save.

The Don’t Wait campaign features an appeal by North East respiratory consultant Dr Ruth Sharrock and launches again in the run up to Stoptober. Previously 8/10 smokers who saw the successful campaign said they did something as a result with 1 in 6 trying to quit or cutting down smoking as a result.

Ailsa Rutter OBE Director of Fresh and Balance said: “In the run up to Stoptober we’re appealing to smokers to think about the reasons to quit – to reduce the risks of ill health and to save money.

“Smoking is still our biggest killer and cause of preventable ill health, and it is brilliant to see the NHS in our region with local authorities getting behind and supporting this campaign which will give people extra motivation and signpost all the local support available.

“Most smokers have tried to quit before, but it can take a number of tries to be successful. Getting the right support and quit aids can make the process less stressful and our new quitting platform is about helping to give people in the North East all the options to find a method which is right for them.”

Dr Ruth Sharrock, Respiratory Consultant with Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead for the North East and North Cumbria Smokefree NHS/Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce, said: “There are good reasons to quit smoking at any age and no matter how long you have smoked. As we approach the winter, with coughs colds and respiratory diseases rising, quitting smoking can reduce those risks.

“Even people in their 20s and 30s can feel out of breath from smoking. But these risks and symptoms just get worse over time with conditions such as COPD and lung cancer which are caused mainly by smoking. I see too many patients who regret that they waited too long to quit.

“But for almost everyone who quits, the benefits of feeling fitter and breathing easier happen within weeks and just get better as the months go by as your body and your lungs recover.”

The campaign launches at a time when the NHS across the North East and North Cumbria is rolling out Tobacco Dependency Treatment Services within acute trusts. This will mean that all in-patients receiving treatment will be asked if they smoke and given support to stay off tobacco while in hospital.

The campaign also launches in the run up to Stoptober – the nation’s annual mass quit attempt aimed at millions of smokers across England. Now in its 11th year, the campaign is based on research that if a smoker can make it to 28 days smoke-free, they are 5-times more likely to quit for good.

The chances of quitting are improved if you use a quitting aid such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy or switching completely to vaping to reduce cravings. Local pharmacists and local free stop smoking service can advise on the best quitting aids to help you and develop a plan to help you stop.

To get started visit

The Don’t Wait campaign includes two TV ads featuring Dr Ruth Sharrock highlighting the risks of smoking and the benefits of stopping at any age. Watch below: