The campaign launches today in Merseyside and highlights the hidden harms cigarettes cause – showing how smoking damages bones, muscles, the brain, teeth and eyes as well as causing cancers, heart and lung disease.
It is estimated that there are around 292,000 smokers across Merseyside.
The campaign also tackles common misconceptions around hand-rolled tobacco, or roll-ups. Use of roll-ups has increased significantly. In 1990, 18% of male smokers and 2% of female smokers said they smoked mainly hand-rolled cigarettes1 but by 2013 this had risen to 40% for men and 23% for women.
New figures show that half of smokers (49%) who only smoke roll-ups wrongly believe they are less harmful than manufactured cigarettes2. In fact, hand-rolled cigarettes are at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette3.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer comments:
“Whilst many smokers know the damage cigarettes do to their hearts and lungs, they are much less likely to be aware of how harmful smoking is to the body – essentially ‘rotting’ it from the inside out, and roll-ups are no exception.
“January is a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their health and try to stop smoking. Millions of people have used Smokefree support and we are hoping that this year, even more will take advantage of the free expertise and resources on offer.”
Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures, a social enterprise which tackles tobacco harm in the North West said: “Two thirds of smokers want to quit smoking and New Year is a great opportunity to make a change and quit for good.
“The campaign highlights the true damage that smoking causes, not just to your lungs but your entire body. This campaign is shocking for a reason. You can’t always see the damage but one in two long-term smokers will die from their addiction and all cigarettes, whether they are roll-ups or manufactured have equally devastating effects.
“Quitting this January, either through free online support or through your local stop smoking service, will immediately result in health improvements including a better sense of smell, taste and more energy. Longer term, ex-smokers reduce their risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer, as well as protecting others from second-hand smoke. ”
Public Health England will be continuing to help any smoker wishing to make a quit attempt in 2015 with a range of free and proven support tools.
Smokers in Knowsley can get help to quit by phone – 0800 3 247 111, online at www.readytostopsmoking.co.uk or text KNOWSLEY to 61825 for help and support by mobile. Search ‘Smokefree’ online for the full range of free tools and support.