Graphic anti-smoking ad launched


The new Department of Health anti-smoking television advert

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A series of hard-hitting government adverts featuring people smoking cigarettes with a tumour growing from the end is being launched in England.

The ads will tell smokers that just 15 cigarettes can cause a mutation that leads to cancerous tumours in what marks a return to shock campaigning.

It is eight years since government's "fatty cigarette" anti-smoking adverts appeared.

This £2.7m ad campaign will appear on TV, online and posters until February.

Smokers will also be told about NHS quit kits that are available free from pharmacies.

More than a third of smokers still believe the health risks from smoking are greatly exaggerated, recent statistics from the Department of Health showed.


Chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies said smokers were still underestimating the serious health risks from smoking.

"We want smokers to understand that each packet of cigarettes increases their risk of cancer."

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

"We really want to catch all smokers but particularly the young who won't have seen hard hitting campaigns before. They don't understand what damage is happening in their bodies, what their risks are," she added.

The adverts follow the Stoptober campaign, which saw more than 270,000 sign up in a mass attempt to quit two months ago.

The ad campaign has received the backing of Cancer Research UK.

Its chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar said: "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."

"Giving up smoking can be extremely difficult, so providing extra motivation and reminding people of just how harmful the habit is can help smokers to take that first step in quitting for good."

The charity said smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer and causes about a quarter of all cancer deaths.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 796.

    Always good to see a new anti-smoking advert, although I would have preferred to see it much harder hitting. I don't believe it will have much effect on existing smokers, but I'm not really that bothered about them; it's the next generation that needs as much education as they can get before they too become willing victims.

  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    Whether people smoke or not, it's their choice. If they are comfortable in the knowledge they are poisoning themselves then so be it. However, those who smoke should have to pay in full for any hospitalisation or medication. Why should I have to pay for those who wilfully and knowingly harm themselves?

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    When you have nursed someone who is dying from smoking related disease you know that anything that stops people smoking has to be good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    This is pointless - I don't think a graphic advert is going to stop people from smoking.

    People will stop because they know the risks (who doesn't?), it is ridiculously expensive or because they are sick of being forced to stand out in the rain for half the night whenever they leave the house

    Advertising that smoking is unhealthy - if people don't already know that then there is something wrong!

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    For those moaning about freedom of choice for smokers, surely the purpose of these ads is as much to prevent people starting as much as encouraging existing smokers to stop! If I were a young child and saw this I would hopefully be tempted never to start. Mind you, if I were a young child who's parents smoked and I saw this I would be terrified for them.


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