Thousands of smokers in North Yorkshire who underestimate the risk of smoking cutting their lives short are being urged to stop for the sake of their families in a hard-hitting campaign by Breathe 2025.
Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of ill-health and early death in North Yorkshire, killing about 1,000 people in the county every year. The “Don’t Be The 1” campaign is being supported by North Yorkshire County Council and highlights how one in two long-term smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. It asks smokers to quit once and for all for the sake of their loved ones.
Katie Needham, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire, said: “Evidence shows one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease, some in their 40s and 50s. These odds are infinitely greater than the reported risks of being hit by a bus (about two in a million) or becoming a millionaire on the National Lottery (about one in ten million).
“Worryingly, surveys show nine out of ten smokers underestimate the one in two risk, with about half believing their risk to be one in ten or less. Smoking tobacco is much more harmful than most people think. It might be tempting to say ‘this won’t happen to me’ but a one in two chance is odds that nobody would want.”
County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, executive member for public health, prevention and supported housing, said: “The ‘Don’t Be The 1’ campaign starts the run-up to Stoptober - the country’s mass stop smoking attempt - and there are more ways to quit than ever before. We are urging people to give it a go.
“Getting the right support to quit gives you a much better chance, whether that is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), medication, visiting your local stop smoking service or switching to an electronic cigarette, a significantly less harmful option.
"It doesn’t matter how many times you have tried before. Quitting lowers your risk of dying early at any age, but the sooner you stop smoking the better.
“Smokers can click on the DontBeThe1.tv website for tips on quitting. In North Yorkshire there’s additional free support available from Smokefreelife North Yorkshire, the stop smoking service funded by the County Council. When you get support through a stop smoking service to quit, you’re four times more likely to be successful than if you go it alone.”
Public Health England advice is that smokers, particularly those who have tried other quitting methods without success, should try e-cigarettes and people who are both vaping and smoking at the same time should make the full switch and stop smoking completely.
Smokefreelife North Yorkshire offers a free, flexible support package to suit the individual. Smokers wanting to stop can attend clinics, drop-ins, receive nicotine replacement therapy or talk to specialist advisers over the phone. Visit the website or call 0800 2465215 or 01609 663023 or text QUIT to 66777 to find out more.
It is also an e-cigarette friendly stop smoking service. That means anyone who wants to use an e-cigarette to help them to give up can still use face-to-face support and clinics that the service provides. E-cigarettes are now the most popular aid to quitting smoking and carry only a fraction of the risk that smoking tobacco does.