Powerful anti-smoking campaign could shock people into quitting smoking
30th December 2013
no smokingSmokers could be scared into quitting smoking when they catch a glimpse of a new graphic television advert set to be given its debut today. More than 10 million British adults smoke – around 22 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women, so many will have their eyes opened wide upon seeing the advert, which says “If you could see the damage, you'd stop”. The advert is said to “bring to life the toxic cycle of dirty blood” generated by the inhalation of cigarette smoke. It has long been common knowledge the devastating impact that cigarettes have on the heart and lungs, with smokers being double the risk of dying from a stroke in comparison to non-smokers. However, health officials have now used the new campaign get the message across how the toxic chemicals in cigarettes – such as arsenic and cyanide - can destroy cells in the brain. This therefore increased the risk of not only stroke, but suffering dementia and cognitive decline is also greatly increased. The campaign has been funded by Public Health England and has been launched by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies. "We know about the serious effect smoking has on the heart and lungs but smokers need to be aware of how much potential damage is being done to the brain and other vital organs through toxins in cigarettes entering the blood," she commented. She added: “Smoking is the major cause of premature death, with one in two smokers dying prematurely from smoking related diseases, and it is extremely worrying that people still underestimate the health harms associated with it. However, it is not all doom and gloom for smokers looking to quit this New Year. Within five years of stopping smoking, your risk of stroke can be reduced to the same as a lifetime non-smoker.” In addition to the obvious health benefits of people quitting smoking, there is also a hugely underestimated impact on the economy as a result of smoking. In particularly, a staggering amount to the tune of £5 billion is lost each and every year due to health costs, sick leave and lost productivity. Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for health and wellbeing for Public Health England, speaking to the BBC News, said: “Tar, arsenic, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide - these all have either effects that they can cause cancers or they can cause significant amounts of damage to the lining of blood vessels. We really want to draw attention to that toxic nature of cigarette smoke and the ways it can be dealt with - which are either to stop smoking or to switch to healthier nicotine delivery systems - for example nicotine patches etc.” Professor Fenton argued that there is so much more than can still be done to urge more people to kick the habit into touch. Also speaking to BBC News was somebody who has successfully managed to quit smoking. John Lee, suffered a stroke that “came out of the blue” at the age of just 42. This resulted in paralysis to the left side of his body. “I had been playing golf in Portugal. I flew home, got in the shower, felt a bit light-headed and that was it. My twins were seven years old at the time...The children were devastated. It's really hard to explain the effect a stroke has. It doesn't just affect you, it affects everyone around you. I was married at the time - since then my marriage has broken down, basically due to the stroke. The children have gone from having a dad that can run around and play football and do everything with them, to basically being able to do nothing. I would encourage anyone never to start smoking.”