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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 October 2005, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
'Unseen damage' smoke ad launched
Still from BHF advert
The ads will show rippling under the skin to indicate damage from smoking
The British Heart Foundation is launching its latest advert warning of the unseen damage caused by smoking.

The ads, featuring sinister images of rippling under smokers' skin, will go on TV, in the press - and on beer mats.

They coincide with a BHF survey showing over half of smokers think nicotine causes heart disease, although other ingredients of smoke are to blame.

Experts fear this may discourage people from using nicotine replacements such as patches or chewing gum.

Nicotine replacement therapy is an ideal way to give up smoking because it satisfies the craving without causing the damage
Dr Peter Weissberg, British Heart Foundation

The 4m campaign, which will run for four weeks across England, aims to boost numbers giving up the habit in the New Year. It follows last year's hard-hitting adverts showing fat being squeezed from a smoker's artery.

The campaign, funded by the Department of Health, includes television advertisements backed by the original Frank Sinatra recording of 'I've Got You Under My Skin'.

Clots

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF, said: "Every 35 minutes a smoker dies needlessly from a heart attack when a blood clot blocks a coronary artery.

"The smoke from cigarettes damages the walls of arteries, increasing the build-up of fatty deposits and constricting the flow of blood to the heart.

"This build up, known as atherosclerosis, can lead to the formation of blood clots which cause heart attacks.

"Today's survey is worrying in that it suggests smokers think nicotine is the killer in the cigarette - but it's the other constituents of cigarette smoke that damage arteries.

"Nicotine replacement therapy is an ideal way to give up smoking because it satisfies the craving without causing the damage."

Cold turkey

The survey confirmed that the most commonly used methods of quitting smoking are the least effective.

Of smokers who have considered giving up, 72% said they have tried to cut down, 63% have gone "cold turkey", and 66% have used willpower alone.

Just 48% make use of nicotine replacement products, and only 16% use NHS Stop Smoking Services, which the BHF say combined can increase a smoker's likelihood of quitting by up to four times.

Prof Weissberg said: "If all smokers were to trade cigarettes for nicotine patches or chewing gum tomorrow, we would see a dramatic fall in the number of deaths from heart disease."




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