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29 December 2017, 00:00
It's been revealed 104 patients in the North East are admitted to hospital every day as a result of smoking-related illnesses.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) releases a new TV advert highlighting the dangers of tar in cigarettes.
The latest campaign shows how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream, spreading to every part of the body within seconds and causing damage to all major organs.
There are still 390,000 smokers living in the North East.
Dr Robert Allcock, a respiratory consultant at the QE Hospital in Gateshead, said:
"Every time someone smokes a cigarette, they inhale tar and poisons which damage the lungs, and which enter the bloodstream to cause further damage to the heart, the brain, and all the major organs of the body.
"The poisons from cigarettes cause permanent damage to DNA and increase the risk of cancer.
"I see the harm from smoking in my clinics every week. Smoking is still the biggest issue that dominates my job and the job of my colleagues, and it dominates the experiences of too many of our patients.
The burden of illness and suffering that people endure as a result of tobacco remains enormous.
"As a doctor one of the hardest things I do is to explain to someone that they have lung cancer caused by their smoking.
It's the moment when a person realises that this thing that's been a normal part of their life for as long as they can remember is also the thing that means they are unlikely to be alive in 1 or 2 years' time.
It's a horrible thing to see; a look of sadness and regret."
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said:
"People are often shocked when they find out the poisons that go into the bloodstream when you light a cigarette."
"The good news is that no matter how long you've smoked, quitting at any age reduces your chances of developing cancer, heart and lung disease and other serious smoking related illnesses. No matter how many times you have tried to quit, it is always worth trying again and make this time the one you quit for good."