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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 January, 2004, 02:25 GMT
Hard-hitting smoking ad launched
The ad shows fat oozing from the tips of cigarettes
A television advert showing fat being squeezed from a smoker's artery aims to boost numbers giving up the habit in the New Year.

Long-term smokers are at greater risk of heart disease caused by clogged arteries.

The government is funding the ad - made by the British Heart Foundation - in order to help meet its target of 1.5 million fewer smokers by 2010.

Currently, 28% of men and 26% of women in the UK smoke regularly.

The advert shows a pub scene with a group of friends lighting up over the drink.

However, instead of ash gathering at the ends of their cigarettes, the viewer sees liquid fat oozing from the tips.

Big push

The advert then shows an artery taken from a regular smoker, which is almost entirely clogged with fat.

Smoking related heart disease happens when, over time, the habit damages the arteries so that they harden, narrow and clog more easily.

Artery oozing with fat

Professor Sir Charles George, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said that the advert could help people who are considering a New Year's resolution to give up smoking.

He said: "It's quite clear that although smoking rates have come down, they are plateauing - it needs an extra effort to take us down further."

The charity has been given 7.5m by the government to run healthy living campaigns over the next few years.

Hard target

Health Minister Melanie Johnson backed the New Year message, saying: "It's a hard-hitting campaign and that's good, because it's a big threat with a lot of lives at risk.

"I'd like to see 1.5 million fewer smokers by 2010 - it's a fairly ambitious target but it's one we're desperate to achieve."

There are thought to be approximately 120,000 smoking-related deaths in the UK each year.

As well as heart disease, smoking is responsible for most lung cancers and can kill by causing emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

The BBC's Alison Holt
"The message is designed to shock - each cigarette damages your heart"

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