THE North-East is a region of secret smokers according to new research.

Thirty nine per cent of smokers in the North-East admit to keeping their habit a secret with 60 per cent of those saying that the person they most want to hide their habit from is their mother. Fathers came a close second at 51 per cent.

The survey of 2,000 UK smokers  - carried out on behalf of e-cigarette brand, E-Lites - also revealed the reasons for their secrecy, with 42 per cent of smokers in the North-East saying they hide their habit because they are ashamed and more than half wanting to prevent their loved ones from worrying about their health.

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Forty-four per cent of smokers underestimate the number of cigarettes they actually smoke, telling others that they smoke less than they really do.

Another 12 per cent have lied on job applications and eight per cent on life insurance applications.

Commenting on the findings Dermot Ryan, managing director of E-Lites, said: "Smokers in the North-East are lying to themselves and others about their habits with many of them admitting to being ashamed of being a smoker."