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Shock smoke death figures.

Byline: By Louise Redvers

Passive smoking kills 200 people under 65 every year in the North East, new research shows.

That takes the region's total tobacco death toll to 5,800, nearly 15 people a day.

And it is thought that as many as 35 of them die from exposure to tobacco fumes in the workplace.

Last month a Chronicle investigation examined levels of nicotine inhaled by people on an average night out. It found pub-goers are 25% more likely to contract heart disease if they had regular pub sessions.

And they are also 15-20% more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to other people's smoke on a regular basis.

The figures have been released in advance of a conference this week which will discuss proposals to make the region smoke free.

Up to 200 health workers and anti-tobacco campaigners meet at The Marriott Hotel, Gateshead, tomorrow for the forum organised by the Smoke Free North East alliance in partnership with the Association of North East Councils.

Bill Kirkup, regional director of public health, who will be speaking at the conference, said: "One out of every two smokers will die prematurely, so smoking is like playing Russian roulette with your health ( except it's even more dangerous as there are three bullets in the chamber of the gun instead of one.

"Smoking kills more than 15 people in the North East every day. About 5,800 die prematurely every year and almost one in five of all deaths in the region is caused by the habit.

"These are appalling figures made even more stark by the statistics about deaths from second-hand smoke revealed today."

Joining Dr Kirkup on the podium will be campaigner Prof Stanton Glantz and Valerie Robinson, director of communications and education with the Irish Office of Tobacco Control.

Delegates will be discussing the scientific evidence on second-hand smoke, exploring the role of local councils in driving the smoke-free agenda and the role of local councils in promoting the smoke-free campaign.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 6, 2004
Words:333
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