Rates of smoking have fallen by almost 30% in the North East of England, following a regional programme.
Just a fifth (20%) of people in the North East smoke after the Fresh Smoke North East campaign was launched in 2005.
Before, close to a third (29%) of people smoked. This is the biggest fall in smoking rates anywhere in England since 2005.
Over eight million people in England smoke and it remains the nation’s biggest killer. Half of long-term smokers die prematurely from a smoking related disease.
All general practices and primary care organisations in the North East took part in Fresh Smoke Free.
Ailsa Rutter, director of the campaign said: “While we are obviously delighted that the North East has seen the biggest fall in smoking rates, we still have one in five adults addicted to this deadly product.
“This means over 4,000 people are dying prematurely every year in the North East alone due to tobacco.”
Rutter said more must be done to continue to make smoking less attractive.