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Tobacco and smoking


Smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death.

We have an ambition in County Durham to reduce smoking to 5% by 2030, and support the north east reduction to 5% by 2025.

What is tobacco control and why is it so important?

Tobacco control looks at the use of tobacco and how to reduce death and disability it causes.

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and reduces both quality of life as well as life expectancy. Smoking is the single biggest cause of inequality in death rates between rich and poor in the UK.

Half of all long-term smokers die prematurely losing on average 10 years of life. For every death caused by smoking, about 20 smokers are suffering from a smoking related disease.

What are we doing and how we can help

If you're a smoker and want help

Quitting smoking can be difficult, so why not make it easier, with Smokefree life County Durham? They will help you find your routes to quit. Get in touch on 0800 772 0565, text QUIT to 66777 or email info@smokefreelifecountydurham.co.uk  

The team, some of whom are ex-smokers themselves, has helped 50,000 people to stop smoking over the last 12 years. With expert help you are four times more likely to succeed than those who try to quit without support.

Everyone is different so there are different support options available including:

  • motivational tips on how to stay on track
  • the chance to use a carbon monoxide monitor, to see your recovery in action
  • a choice of support to fit your lifestyle
  • prescription stop smoking medicines to help beat cravings, from nicotine patches and gum, to nasal sprays, inhalators and tablets

Smoke free play parks

In 2015 we introduced a voluntary no-smoking code to make play areas in parks smokefree. Signs are placed in and around each play area asking adults to abide by the code.

Smokefree Families

Our front-line staff are trained on how to raise the issue of children's exposure to secondhand smoke with families.

Illegal tobacco 

Illegal tobacco is tobacco that has been smuggled into the UK, 'bootlegged' (duty free) or counterfeit (fake). It is harming local communities across our county. It is not a victimless crime and it has serious consequences for health, crime and our communities. See our Illegal tobacco page for more information. 

    The Smokefree Tobacco Control Alliance for County Durham

    Partners from across our county work together to implement action locally. The alliance are currently refreshing its five year Action Plan (2017-2021) which has the following objectives:

    • developing infrastructure, skills and capacity at local level and influencing national action
    • reducing exposure to second-hand smoke
    • helping smokers to quit
    • media, communications and social marketing
    • reducing the availability and supply of tobacco products
    • reducing the promotion of promotion
    • tobacco regulation
    • research, monitoring and evaluation

    What is happening across the north east?

    We are the lead commissioner on behalf of 11 north east councils to commission Fresh - Smoke Free North East, the dedicated regional tobacco control programme set up to tackle the worst rates of smoking-related illness and death in the country.

    Since its launch, the north east has seen the largest fall in smoking in England, a fall of nearly a third with around 165,000 fewer smokers. While still too high, we also now have the lowest youth smoking rates and rates of women smoking during pregnancy on record for our region. 

    Contact us
    Public Health
    03000 267 660
    Our address is:
    • County Hall
    • Adult and Health Services
    • Durham
    • County Durham
    • United Kingdom
    • DH1 5UJ
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