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Hard hitting campaign urges people to quit smoking in 2019

Health chiefs in Wolverhampton are backing a hard hitting campaign encouraging smokers to make a quit attempt in the new year.

Public Health England's Smokefree Health Harms campaign, launched today (Friday 28 December), hopes to trigger quit attempts among smokers by making them aware of the immediate, personal and irrefutable harm to health from every single cigarette.

The campaign sees the release of a new film showing the devastating effects of smoking and how these can be avoided by switching to an e-cigarette or using another type of quit aid.

Over three million adults use e-cigarettes, and they have helped thousands of people successfully quit - but research says that nearly half of smokers still either wrongly believe vaping is as harmful as smoking or don't know that vaping poses much lower risks to health.

The film features smoking expert Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard using an experiment to show the high levels of cancer causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month, demonstrating how this compares to not smoking or using an e-cigarette.

Latest figures show that the number of smokers in Wolverhampton is continuing to fall. The percentage of adults who smoke in the city dropped from 16.5% in 2015 to 14.4% in 2017, amounting to almost 5,000 fewer smokers. Smoking rates in Wolverhampton are now also lower than the national average - which now stands at 14.9%.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature death in the country, and quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you.

"Quitting can significantly improve people's health and wellbeing, on both a short term and long term basis. For instance, 48 hours after stopping smoking, carbon monoxide will be eliminated from your body; after 72 hours, breathing becomes easier; and from 2 weeks onwards, your circulation improves.

"Five years after quitting, your risk of heart attack falls by half compared with someone who is still smoking, while after 10 years it is the same as if you had never smoked. Also 10 years after quitting, your risk of lung cancer is about half that of a person who still smokes.

"While quitting is never easy, the new year is the perfect time to give it a try and I would encourage people to take advantage of the help and support which is available."

Public Health England says that around 60% of England's 6.1m smokers want to quit - but that many try using willpower alone, despite this being the least effective method.

Smokers are encouraged to visit Smokefree NHS for advice and a free Personal Quit Plan to help them find the right support to stop smoking in just three easy steps, taking into account how much they smoke and any quitting support used previously. For more help and support to stop smoking, please visit Be Smokefree.

  • released: Friday 28 December, 2018