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Quit smoking to reduce chances of the ‘suffocating’ lung disease.”

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Quit smoking to reduce chances of the ‘suffocating’ lung disease.”

Smokers in Newcastle are being urged to quit and reduce their risk of developing a disease which can leave sufferers fighting for breath. The “Every Breath” campaign from Fresh; Smoke Free North East, is raising awareness that smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is being supported by the British Lung Foundation.

COPD the UK’s fifth biggest killer, is mainly caused by smoking and feeling breathless is an early sign. Sufferers can end up feeling like they are suffocating and one major study suggests at least 1 in 4 smokers will develop clinically significant COPD. The North East is one of the hardest hit regions with an estimated 93,277 people living with the condition, 19066 of them living in Newcastle and Gateshead. The area also has a high rate of people being admitted to hospital because of COPD.

Smoking is the single biggest cause of the condition, responsible for around 80% of cases with every cigarette smoked causing further damage. There are varying levels of severity but once the damage is done, it is irreversible. Quitting smoking is the one clear way to reduce your risk.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “COPD is a disease that too many smokers are not aware of until they are diagnosed, but research suggests that more than a quarter of smokers will develop it.

“Those figures are truly alarming, especially when so many people who smoke do suffer from early warning signs like feeling short of breath but dismiss them as a “normal” part of smoking. Not being able to breathe properly is something nobody wants to happen to them.

The best way that people can reduce their risk of developing COPD is to stop smoking. There is plenty of free, friendly, advice and support available to get your quit attempt underway if you live or work in Newcastle. Ask at your local pharmacy or contact Lifeline, Newcastle’s Specialist Stop Smoking Service on 0191 269 1103, or follow them on Twitter @Quit_Newcastle. To see the advert and get further information and support on quitting, visit

Anyone who feels breathless doing everyday tasks should consider taking the British Lung Foundation’s online breath test to see if they need to see a doctor.


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