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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Mixed response in Cumbria to new quit smoking campaign

Smokers in Cumbria have given a mixed response to a graphic quit campaign image which shows a tumour growing from a cigarette.

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Shock factor: The image from the £2.7m campaign which shows a tumour growing from a cigarette

According to the Department of Health (DoH), just 15 cigarettes can cause a mutation than can lead to cancerous tumours.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said smokers play Russian roulette with every cigarette.

“This is a hard-hitting campaign to get at the hidden harms of smoking,” she said.

“People will see a man smoking and then a cancer growing out of the cigarette. That is what happens in people’s bodies.

“One in two smokers die from smoking, most from cancer. We know that people don’t personalise the harms of smoking and don’t understand what’s happening in their bodies. This will show them.”

On the streets of Carlisle, smokers were mixed about whether the campaign would have any impact.

Craig Brownlee-Chapman, 37, of Victoria Road, Botcherby, said: “It has made me think about quitting because it’s highlighted the concern.

“I think the campaign will work because of the shock factor, it makes people think about the dangers of smoking.”

But Harry Ross, 60, of Wetheral, said: “Campaigns have gone too far. The images are obscene and not very nice. It won’t make me quit because I’ve been smoking too long now.”

Trevor Wall, 44, of Denton Holme, believes anything that stops people smoking or prevents them starting is good.

“It has made me consider quitting. It makes you think about smoking,” he added.

Meanwhile, Colin Shires, 37, of Warwick Road, said: “Campaigners do enough already. The last set of graphic adverts years ago didn’t work.

“It won’t help. I’ve been smoking for 20 years and it’s a hard habit to stop, it’s not easy.”

The national campaign is in response to statistics which show more than a third of smokers still think the health risks are greatly exaggerated, the DoH said.

Dame Sally described the figures as “absolutely shocking”.

The last graphic adverts, in 2004, showed fatty deposits being squeezed from a smoker’s artery and fat dripping from the end of cigarettes. The following eight years have seen softer campaigns but the DoH says it believes the time is right to deliver a stronger message.

The campaign, which cost £2.7m, will run for nine weeks on television, billboards and online.

England’s eight million smokers are being urged to pick up a free NHS Quit Kit from pharmacies.

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, insisted the startling images in the ads are necessary.

“We have got to reduce the impact that tobacco has on the lives of far too many people,” he said.

A set of specially designed posters in GP surgeries, children’s centres and other venues in Cumbria are in place, encouraging mums, dads and grandparents to quit.

Stop smoking clinics are available in a range of places across Cumbria. Call the Stop Smoking Service on 01900 324222 to arrange or ask your GP or drop in to your nearest participating pharmacy.

news.carlisle@cnmedia.co.uk

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