SUNDERLAND smokers are being warned that just 15 cigarettes can have serious health implications after a new ad campaign was announced.
In a return to hard-hitting health campaigns the Department of Health, supported by various charities including Cancer Research UK, will use an image of a tumour growing on a cigarette as it is smoked.
The aim is to encourage people to quit by making the invisible damage cigarettes can do visible.
Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “Tobacco is a lethal product and smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer. It is highly addictive and kills half of all long-term smokers.
“Hard-hitting campaigns such as this illustrate the damage caused by smoking and this can encourage people to quit or may even stop them from starting in the first place.”
The new campaign comes in response to statistics which show more than a third of smokers still believe health risks associated with smoking are greatly exaggerated.
Designed to show that every cigarette is potentially harmful, the campaign will send a tough message about the dangers of smoking to a new generation of young people.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, the regional office for tobacco control in the North East, said: “Too many mums, dads and grandparents die before their time every year as a result of smoking-related cancers, leaving loved ones behind.
“I would urge anyone thinking about quitting to have a go in 2013.”
Eight years since the last campaign, focusing on the health harms of smoking, it is estimated that more than three million people have been admitted to hospital with a smoking-related disease – more than 1,000 each day.
A smoking-related condition has also been the cause of death for an estimated 570,000 people – 195 people each day.
The campaign, costing £2.7million, will run for nine weeks. For advice on how to quit and to find the nearest participating pharmacy visit smokefree.nhs.uk