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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 December, 2004, 00:23 GMT
Anti-smoking ads to shock parents
Image of smoking ad
The adverts are targeted at parents who smoke
Hard-hitting TV adverts to encourage smokers to quit - particularly those who are parents - are being launched by the government on Boxing Day.

They will show children standing over the graves of parents who have died of heart disease or lung cancer.

More adverts will follow in the new year, with advice about free NHS Stop Smoking Services, as part of a 6m advertising drive to curb smoking.

Over the Christmas break, 3,000 people will die of smoking-related illnesses.

Shock tactics

The adverts depict the emotional impact of smoking on families, including a mother struggling to break the news that she has cancer to her children and a young girl laying flowers on her father's grave.

The government hopes that smokers watching TV with their families over the festive period will resolve to give up cigarettes.

Image of stop smoking ad
Fears about their children can be a stronger motivation to actually quit.
Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson talking about the ads (pictured)

There will be a second round of adverts to support those New Year's resolutions, with information on how to get help locally.

Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson said: "We know that 70% of smokers want to stop.

"For some, fears about their children can be a stronger motivation to actually quit than fears for their own health.

"Parents want to do the best for their children. We all want to be around to see them grow up."

Ms Johnson said NHS smoking cessation services helped 200,000 people give up last year.

Experts say smokers are four times more likely to quit successfully using these services, than relying on willpower alone.

Giving up

There are over 170 centres across the UK, offering advice and prescriptions for nicotine replacement therapy.

The children were the best reason for me to quit.
Nicola Harrington, an ex-smoker and mother of five

Dr Hayden McRobbie, who works at the Stop Smoking Clinic at Barts and the Royal London Hospital, said: "Most smokers when they try to stop go it alone, which as a method has a very, very low success rate.

"Coming to a stop smoking service is going to increase their chance of success by four times."

Nicola Harrington, 31, is a mother of five. She had been smoking since the age of 15 but managed to quit after attending one-to-one sessions at her local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

"The children were the best reason for me to quit.

"I was worried about not living to see my children's children."

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group FOREST, said: "This campaign should carry a government health warning because smokers and their families are in serious danger of being scared to death.

"Everyone knows there are risks associated with smoking, but these advertisements stigmatise all smokers irrespective of whether they are long-term heavy smokers or moderate smokers who keep fit and enjoy a healthy diet."


BBC NEWS:VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch an extract from the anti-smoking advert



SEE ALSO:
Tobacco advert rules introduced
21 Dec 04 |  Health
'DNA test' to help smokers quit
02 Dec 04 |  Health
Pub helps drinkers quit smoking
16 Nov 04 |  Health
Smoking
08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes


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