Initiative breathes new life into campaign

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A CAMPAIGN to show how smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been re-launched in the North East.

The Every Breath initiative from Fresh, the dedicated regional programme for tobacco control, triggered a big rise in the number of people who stopped using cigarettes following phase one last Autumn.

During October-December 2011, there was a 21 per cent increase in people from the North East successfully making it to week four of their quit attempt compared to a 3.1 per cent rise nationally.

Viewers and listeners will see new TV and radio adverts highlighting the real stories of people affected by smoking related COPD.

Cinemagoers all over the region will also see a shocking 50-second breathing exercise that invites them to briefly experience how difficult breathing is in the later stages of the disease.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “The Every Breath campaign has been a real wake up call to many smokers. It was news to many people who thought that being short of breath was normal, when in many cases it is an early sign of COPD and it makes quitting even more urgent.

“We’ve had so much positive feedback from people who said the hard-hitting, factual approach gave them the reason they needed to quit smoking and have made the decision to run it again based on the campaign’s proven track record of results.

“We want to help encourage people to quit smoking with the hard facts, as well as stopping young people from taking up smoking in the first place.”

About 80 per cent of COPD cases are caused by cigarette use and sufferers describe the later stages as feeling like they are choking or suffocating.

If you want to quit smoking, call the Northumberland NHS stop smoking services on 01670 813135.