Tobacco control campaigner Ailsa Rutter has been awarded a World Health Organisation (WHO) World No Tobacco Day medal in recognition of her work in tackling smoking in the north east. She is the only person in the UK to win the award.
Rutter, who set up Fresh – the first regional tobacco control office in the UK – in 2005, saw smoking rates in the north east fall at twice the national average during the first five years of the organisation’s work. Fresh has also been highlighted in both the government's current National Tobacco Plan – ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ – and the previous government’s National Tobacco Strategy, ‘A Smokefree Future’. The Association of North East Councils and chair of the North East Directors of Public Health network have praised Fresh and Rutter for the award and work across the region.