New figures show the North East has had the biggest drop in smokers nationwide –with fewer people smoking than ever.
The proportion of North East smokers fell from 22.3 per cent of people smoking in 2013 down to 19.9 per cent in 2014, according to the Integrated Household Survey published by the Office for National Statistics.
There are now 165,000 fewer smokers in the North East than there were in 2005, when 29 per cent of people smoked.
The figures have been praised by Public Health England.
Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England, said: “This significant drop in North East smoking rates is a credit to the hard work and commitment of local organisations who have come together to reduce the devastating harm caused by smoking.”