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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February, 2004, 21:04 GMT
Anti-smoking ads 'a huge success'
BHF website grab
The BHF's anti-smoking message is on its website
A 4m advertising campaign showing fat oozing out of a smoker's artery is one of the British Heart Foundation's most successful, it has said.

A total of 10,000 people have called the charity's smoking healthline and 62,000 have visited its website since the TV advert was aired on 1 January.

The response showed the BHF was helping people give up, a spokesman added.

Smoking is estimated to cause 114,000 deaths in the UK a year - with about 30,000 due to cardiovascular disease.

'War on smoking'

The adverts, which appeared on television, billboards, and on pub beer mats, showed fat dripping out of cigarettes and arteries in a bid to force smokers to link cigarettes with the image of fat in their arteries.

BHF marketing and communications director Betty McBride said: "The response to our campaign has been overwhelming, which shows we are fulfilling our aim to help smokers give up."

Privately-owned internet monitor hitwise.co.uk said the BHF site was the second most visited web site in the healthcare sector in January, behind breastcancer.org.

Those adverts have been a visual wake-up call to everyone about the dangers of smoking
Melanie Johnson
Public Health Minister

Those visiting the site also spent an average of nine minutes 19 seconds on it, compared with an average of five minutes for other sites.

"Our intention was to declare war on smoking, not on smokers. I feel that we won a battle in January, but the war goes on," Ms McBride added.

Public health minister Melanie Johnson said: "These powerful adverts have been a visual wake-up call to everyone about the dangers of smoking and it is encouraging to see they are motivating so many people to quit."

Charlie Dixon, 38, from north London, started smoking at 15 but said he had not smoked since seeing the advert on 1 January.

"The BHF campaign created such strong and repulsive images that I immediately realised I owed it to myself as a self-respecting human being not to allow my body and health to be destroyed by cigarettes," he said.

"I no longer feel I am depriving myself of any pleasure or treat, but feel hugely empowered that I can exercise control over my health and well-being."

The BHF smoking helpline is 0800 169 1900.

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