Smokers are being urged to give quitting a go on No Smoking Day next week – and try to quit at least once a year until they stop for good.
The call comes as new figures suggest smokers in the North East are making more successful quit attempts than elsewhere in the country.
Maggie Bratton, 62, from near Ponteland, quit after being diagnosed with mouth cancer.
She said: “Before the cancer I was an adamant smoker, I always had been.
“I never bothered trying to quit because I just thought I would make a fool of myself and fail, but it changes when you get that scared.
“I remember being at the hospital the night before the surgery and I was still smoking at that stage.
“I went outside for a cigarette and I thought ‘what am I doing?’
“I went back in and put my clothes on and said to the nurse ‘I’m going to go home’ and she asked why and I said ‘because I can’t quit’.
“Thankfully, she told me to sleep on it and to think of my kids and I haven’t smoked since. I can honestly say I have never craved a cigarette since.”
Get support from the Stop Smoking Service – 01670 813135.