Graphic anti-smoking campaign targets users of roll-up cigarettes
30th December 2014
smokeA new anti-smoking campaign has been launched by Public Health England (PHE), aiming to alert smokers to some of the lesser known damages to the body that smoking does. Most of us are aware that smoking dramatically raises the risk of developing a whole range of types of cancer such as colon, mouth and throat, in addition to heart disease and strokes, but many people aren’t aware that smoking can also cause health problems such as osteoporosis and is detrimental to fertility levels. The graphic online and billboard campaign – depicting a rolled-up cigarette filled with decaying bodily tissue - is primarily targeting users of roll-up cigarettes, warning them that these types of cigarettes are just as damaging to the human body as conventional manufactured cigarettes, focusing on the harm inflicted to the brain, bones and muscles, teeth and eyes. The campaign also aims to once and for all extinguish the common myths that still exist with regards to hand-rolled tobacco, or roll-ups. PHE say that a considerable number of people that smoke these are under the incorrect belief that they are safer than conventional cigarettes, despite evidence showing that hand-rolled cigarettes are at the very least just as hazardous as other kinds of cigarettes. However, the number of people turning to roll-ups seems to be on the increase – perhaps because they are under the misconception the roll-ups are safer for them. Back in 1990, 18% of male smokers and 2% of female smokers stated that they primarily used hand-rolled cigarettes, but by 2013 this had jumped to 40% for men and 23% for women. Not many people may be aware but smokers are actually 59% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 53% more likely to have cognitive impairment, say PHE. It gets worse – smokers are also at a 79% higher risk of suffering with chronic back pain, a 25% higher chance of bone fracture and are at a 40% increased risk of breaking a hip. In addition, smokers are generally more likely to suffer with age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the PHE chief medical officer, said: “Significant numbers of smokers are now using roll-ups without realising that gram for gram of tobacco they are just as unsafe as ordinary cigarettes. The research we have got suggests that people think it’s safer to smoke a roll-up up but they are wrong, it is not safe. No tobacco is safe and gram for gram it is as harmful as ordinary cigarettes. This is our third hard-hitting campaign. The first was about cancer, the second was about heart attacks and strokes, and this one is about the general rot that tobacco does to your body. We have evaluated the other two campaigns and they have had real impact on the public and that has then fed through into orders for quit kits and people stopping smoking.” Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing for PHE, added: “Much of the harm caused by smoking doesn't become obvious until middle age but the invisible damage can start shockingly early - even by the late teens. “The earlier a smoker quits the better, but quitting at any age can help reverse at least some of the damage. That's why there is no time better than now to quit. Stop smoking and stop the rot.”