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Put quitting smoking top of your New Year resolutions

22nd December 2021

SMOKERS are being urged to put quitting on top of their New Year 2022 resolutions for family, better health and for their finances.

It comes as mums and dads from the region spur on others to quit as they reveal how their children and family were their reason to go smokefree.

An online drive is also getting underway with smokers in the North East and North Cumbria for New Year, with people offered the chance to sign up for online support with the Smoke Free app. The FREE app gives people 24/7 support when they need it the most and can be downloaded with an eligible postcode within the North East and North Cumbria at This is on top of the free excellent support available from the local Stop Smoking Services in the region.

Money is another factor. 2022 is due to get pricier with rising power, food and fuel bills. Quitting smoking can save a 10 a day smoker over £1,600 a year to help offset a predicted £1,700 rise in the cost of living by 2022. Fresh is urging smokers to work out how much they could save by quitting.

39-year-old Cam Walton from Ryhope quit smoking in May 2020, after her oldest daughter begged her to stop as she was so worried about something happening to her mum. Cam is now encouraging others to give quitting a go to reap both the health and financial benefits.

After Danny Patterson’s dad was diagnosed with smoking related bladder cancer, he knew he had to stop smoking but it was three years before the death of a friend and a return to the UK to look after his mum forced him to re-assess what he was doing and take action to quit.

Danny, 30, from North Shields, said: “When I quit, I was on 10-15 a day. My dad had cancer a few times – bladder cancer. He was first diagnosed 3 years ago, they said it was because he smoked. He had quit 10 years before, but the doctor said it was because he had smoked for so long. That was what initially put the idea in my head – I knew I needed to think about stopping.

“I had been living in Thailand for six years, teaching English. A guy I knew died of lung cancer in 2021 and then my mum got sick in the UK and needed a heart operation. I decided to come home to look after her and I thought: when I get back to England, I am going to stop smoking.

“I stopped in August 2021 using nicotine patches from the pharmacy. I made an appointment with the pharmacist, and she did an assessment and recommended nicotine replacement therapy. I have an appointment with her every two weeks, and we talk about how I am doing, and she gives me more patches with a lower dose. I am on the minimum dose now.

“I have wanted to stop for years, and I am so glad I did. My mum was always desperate for me to stop smoking too, especially after my dad’s cancer diagnosis, so she is over the moon.

“I have pretty bad asthma and that is so much better now. I used to have to use my blue inhaler regularly and now I hardly use it. I am also eating healthier and have lost quite a lot of weight – two stone. The stopping smoking was really hard, but I breathe so much better now which has helped. I have also saved loads of money. I am saving up for when my girlfriend comes to visit from Thailand, and we can go on a trip to Europe.”

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: “If you smoke the single most important thing you can do to improve your health is to stop smoking.

“If you’re quitting the best chance of success is through a local stop smoking service supporting you through and getting the right medication and quitting aids to beat the cravings. But the app can also provide 24/7 support and motivation to have at your side anytime you need it.

“It is never too late to quit smoking – even if you have smoked for years and have tried before. Your lungs and body start to recover from the moment you stop and you reduce the risk of serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, COPD and stroke.”


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Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh and Balance.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance said: “Quitting smoking is one of the biggest gifts you can give to your loved ones. Children worry immensely about parents and grandparents smoking – they want them to be around for the important moments in life.

“Every cigarette is damaging your lungs and your health – but every pack smoked is also draining the bank balance. When you add the money up we are talking about thousands. Quitting can give your family finances a boost and pay for some brilliant family experiences in 2022. We also know that despite common myths that stress and anxiety reduce when you manage to quit smoking. It can be tough, but millions have now done it and we urge you never to give up on quitting.”


At the start of the pandemic, there was concern for the many smokers who may have struggled to access stop smoking services due to stay-at-home restrictions, and many ex-smokers and younger people were at risk of starting again due to added stress, anxiety and boredom. Smokers are also at more risk of severe symptoms or being hospitalised with Covid-19, due to years of smoking damaging their lungs and immune system, making it harder to fight infections and respiratory illnesses.

The Smoke Free app has now helped 500,000 people around the world to quit with 24/7 support from expert advisors. It offers daily quit coach support, help on dealing with cravings and a savings calculator to keep you motivated.

How the body recovers after quitting:

  • After 20 minutes – check your pulse rate, it will already be starting to return to normal
  • After 8 hours – your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide level 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 to 12 weeks – blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved
  • After 3 to 9 months – any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases by up to 10%
  • After 1 year – 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. (

Smokefree savings

  • 1 week’s savings of £31 is a trip to the cinema
  • 2 weeks’ savings of around £62 could pay for a family (2 adults and 2 children) trip to see Pinocchio at Northern Stage, the best part of an annual Netflix subscription or an Xbox game.
  • 3 weeks’ savings of around £93 would pay for Sunday lunch at your local Toby Carvery for up to five people.
  • 6 months savings of £821 could buy bikes to get out and about in the Spring and summer, or pay for the average power bill for a 1-2 bedroom house or flat (EDF Energy estimates) . Or it could pay for travel and a one-night stay for a family of four to London with a visit to the Harry Potter studio, plus an evening meal out.
  • £1,642 saved in a year could buy a family day trip to Lapland in 2022. It could also more than pay for many families’ annual power bill (EDF Energy estimates)
    (Figures based on a smoker smoking 10 a day paying £9 a pack