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It’s never too late to quit smoking this World COPD Day

FRESH is calling for smokers to quit this World COPD Day, stressing it's never too late to quit tobacco and improve your health.


Wednesday 18th November marks World COPD Day, which aims to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a progressive, disabling disease, which affects the lungs and airways. It has been estimated around 87,000 people in the North East suffer with COPD, but over a third of those are undiagnosed.


It usually starts to affect people over the age of 35, although most people are not diagnosed until they are in their 50s.


Although COPD is irreversible, quitting tobacco is the best thing smokers can do to stop the condition progressing and ease symptoms.


Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "It's important for smokers to know that it's never too late to quit. Even people who suffer with COPD can prevent the condition from becoming worse by quitting tobacco. Smokers can see huge health benefits from quitting, no matter what age you are, how long you've smoked for or how much tobacco you smoke.


"Many smokers mistakenly dismiss the signs of COPD like a cough or feeling breathless as a normal part of smoking, but it can be a sign of a serious health condition like COPD. It's important to visit your GP for advice and they will also be able to refer you for advice on how to quit and improve your health."


COPD is the name used to describe a number of conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is the fifth biggest killer in the UK, claiming the lives of around 30,000 people every year, and, excluding lung cancer, it kills more people than any cancer. Typical symptoms include breathlessness, a persistent phlegmy cough and frequent chest infections.


The prevalence of these means COPD is the second most common cause of emergency hospital admission in the UK. The condition annually accounts for 1.4 million GP consultations and one million inpatient bed days, estimated to cost the NHS over £800 million every year.


Around 80% per cent of COPD cases are caused by smoking and the symptoms of COPD are often presumed to be the 'normal' side effects of being a smoker:

  • Difficulty breathing, especially when physically active


  • A cough, which often produces mucous


  • Frequent chest infections


  • Wheezing


For help and advice to quit, contact your local Stop Smoking Service on the numbers below:

County Durham NHS Stop Smoking Service – 0800 011 3405

Darlington (National Quitline) – 0300 123 1044

Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland Stop Smoking Service – 01642 383 819. Smokers in Hartlepool and Stockton can call the same number

Lifeline (Newcastle Stop Smoking Service) – 0191 269 1103

Live Well Gateshead – 0800 014 9092

North Tyneside Stop Smoking Service – 0345 2000 101 and say 'NO SMOKE'

Change4Life South Tyneside – 0191 424 7300

Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service – 01670 813 135

Sunderland Stop Smoking Service – 0800 107 0741