A FORMER smoker who was diagnosed with cancer aged just 47 is urging smokers to never give up on quitting for the launch of a new campaign.

Sue Mountain underwent laser treatment in 2012 after a biopsy revealed she had throat cancer. The cancer returned in 2014 which required radiotherapy every day for four weeks.

In the North-East, smoking is the cause of more than 2,300 new cases of cancer a year and more than 2,000 people die each year.

Ms Mountain warning how smoking affected not just her health but her job, finances and family comes as the 16 Cancers campaign launches across the North-East with regional TV advertising from North of England Cancer Alliances and with Fresh running a campaign on buses.

Sue said: “I started smoking when I was eleven to fit in. As a kid you don’t realise how addictive it is. I was addicted. I needed that nicotine craving.

“When I look back at what I have spent on cigarettes, it must have been £50,000 at least. It could have bought me half a house, instead of cancer.

“I don’t think I could go back to my job as a lecturer now because my voice is still very hoarse after the radiotherapy. But it’s my family it has affected. It was hard seeing my three daughters worry – it feels like they were punished because of me smoking.

“My grandson worries. And now once you’ve had cancer, you worry every day and think, ‘is it going to come back?’ So I wish I had never smoked.”

She added: “I tried a million times to quit and the only advice I can say is keep trying, it’s worth it 100 per cent.

“I never ever thought all those times I quit and failed that I would get to this point in my life. But you’ve got to keep trying. You don’t want to hear the word ‘cancer’ diagnosed.”

Besides lung cancer, smoking also causes cancers of the mouth, nasal cavities, pharynx and larynx, stomach, kidney, bowel, liver, pancreas, cervix, bladder and ovaries, oesophagus and ureter, as well as myeloid leukaemia. There is also some evidence that smoking could cause breast cancer.

Professor Eugene Milne, lead North-East director of Public Health for Tobacco said: “You would be hard pressed to find any family in the North-East that doesn’t have one family member who has been affected by smoking.

“Historically we have higher rates of smoking and even though rates have nearly halved since 2005, smoking still causes over 5,000 deaths a year.”

For more information and support with quitting smoking, visit quit16.co.uk to find nearby services.