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Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 01:39 GMT
Smoking addiction advert launched
Smoking ad
The smoking ad will run for five weeks

A government anti-smoking ad will start in the New Year in a bid to cut the number of smokers in the build up to the forthcoming smoking ban.

The ad shows smokers being violently seized by a fish-hook and dragged to their traditional smoking spots.

Ministers said it illustrates how addictive and controlling the habit is.

The five-week campaign, which will be shown on TV, internet and billboards, comes seven months before a public smoking ban starts in England.

The nicotine in cigarette smoke can be as addictive as heroin and crack cocaine
Professor Robert West, of University College London

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said: "We know that many smokers will be considering stopping smoking in January as part of their New Year resolutions and in advance of the smoke-free legislation being implemented on 1 July 2007.

"These adverts highlight the controlling nature of tobacco.

"On average, British smokers consume 14 cigarettes a day, over 5,000 a year.

"But it is not just a habit, it is an addiction. The nicotine in cigarettes is a powerful and fast-acting drug which after entering a smoker's bloodstream, affects their brain.

"It produces a nicotine rush which many interpret as pleasure, but in reality is simply the relief of satisfying a craving for nicotine."


But she added the adverts, which will run from 1 January to 4 February, were not just about scaring people.

"They also include details of how to contact NHS smoking cessation services. We want to help people."

If the government really wanted people to stop smoking, they would simply make tobacco an illegal substance
A Moroboshi

Robert West, professor of health psychology at University College London, said the government was right to focus on the addictive nature of smoking.

"Smoking is not just a habit - for many smokers it's a complex and powerful addiction.

"The nicotine in cigarette smoke can be as addictive as heroin and crack cocaine.

"Although most smokers believe that cigarettes help them cope, the evidence shows that it makes things worse and that ex-smokers have lower stress levels than smokers who are constantly having to go through a cycle of withdrawal symptoms and smoking to relieve these."

Meanwhile, a poll of 461 children by ChildLine has revealed the single most popular pledge children picked for their parents in 2007 was for them to give up smoking with one in six 11-year-olds having it top of their wish list.

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