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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Gory adverts aim to scare smokers

More and more women are smoking, a survey revealed

By David Willis in Singapore

Pictures of blocked arteries and cancerous tumours are being used by the authorities in Singpore as part of a shock strategy designed to curb a rise in smoking.

Organisers say the aim of the campaign, which begins on Friday, is to show smokers the harm they are doing to their body with every cigarette they consume.

Singaporeans reaching for their national newspaper, the Straits Times, on Tuesday morning were in for a shock.

Sprawled across the front page was a colour picture of blood seeping from the inside of a brain.

It was intended to show the damage caused to the brain by a minor stroke and the caption warned: "Every time you inhale tobacco smoke thousands of chemicals enter your bloodstream.

"Some of them create blood clots. Get this in your head - smoking can lead to a stroke."

Cancer in close-up

This year's anti-smoking campaign consists of an equally-graphic series of television adverts which, as well as strokes, will also focus on the smoker's vulnerability to heart disease and lung cancer.

The heart disease version will show the lumps of fatty deposits which cause heart attacks, while the lung cancer advert will show the growth of a tumour in the lung.

Another advert will show a doctor slicing a brain in half and bursting open a blood clot. Posters on taxis and the underground railway system will carry similar images.

Singapore already has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the region - smoking is banned in all restaurants and government buildings.

But the new campaign is a radical departure from the considerably softer and more subtle approach of previous campaigns, which have encouraged non-smokers to help smokers abandon their habit.

It follows a survey released last month which showed an increase in smoking among women and young people.

The survey showed that 12 years ago only one in 250 young women smoked cigarettes, while the figure now is one in 17.

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