Tobacco is still the North East’s biggest killer and cause of preventable disease. Cigarettes have been proven to damage the health of smokers and those around them. They can cause heart disease and lung cancer and smoking kills around 120,000 people a year in the UK. It is extremely harmful to smoke when pregnant and puts the baby at risk.

Smoking and the law

In England and Wales it is illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. Although there is no minimum age for consumption in public and private, authorities may confiscate tobacco from anybody under the age of 16. The Government has announced plans to make it illegal for adults to buy traditional cigarettes for anyone under 18.

Smoking is not allowed in any enclosed workplace, public building or on public transport in the UK. Workers can be fined up to £200 if they smoke at work and employers can be fined if they don’t stop people smoking in the workplace or if they don’t display mandatory 'no smoking' signs.

Electronic cigarettes (E-cigs, Vapers or Vapesticks)

An estimated 2.1 million people in the UK currently use electronic cigarettes to help them to stop smoking or cut down the number of cigarettes that they smoke.

Electronic cigarettes (E-cigs, Vapers or Vapesticks) are exempt from the 2007 nationwide smoking ban, however experts don't yet know what effects the devices could have on young people's health. The Government has announced plans to ban under 18s from buying electronic cigarettes. Employers, shops, restaurants and pubs can ban the use of electronic cigarettes on their premises, so you should always check before 'lighting up'.

The Government has announced plans to make it illegal for under 18s in England to buy electronic cigarettes.