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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 15:53 GMT
Campaign to cut cigarette deaths
Smoking
3,000 smoking-related deaths occur each year in NI
A hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign focusing on the link between cigarettes and heart disease is to be launched in Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

The campaign entitled 'Every Cigarette is doing you Damage' will feature graphic television advertisements showing in detail the damage caused by smoking.

Each year, more than 3,000 people in Northern Ireland die as a result of smoking.

In-patient care linked to smoking costs 22m each year and one million working days are lost annually as a result of smoking.

Henrietta Campbell: Welcomed latest campaign
Henrietta Campbell: "Think about the damage"

Medical evidence shows damage to health, which can lead to serious disease, starts as soon as a person begins to smoke.

The advertisements stress that every single cigarette damages health.

The campaign by the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland will be launched by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Henrietta Campbell.

"I would urge smokers to think about the damage that cigarettes are doing to their health and to make use of the services available to help them quit," she said.

Dr Brian Gaffney, chief executive of the Health Promotion Agency, said the advertisement had been adapted from a successful anti-tobacco campaign in Australia.


The images used in the advertisement are graphic and realistic, and will confront, challenge and perhaps shock smokers

Dr Brian Gaffney

"It takes the smoker on a journey into the body to show how cigarette smoke damages the arteries which in turn can lead to heart disease," he said.

"Smoking cigarettes makes the artery walls sticky, collecting dangerous fatty deposits that build up and narrow the arteries in the body.

"The images used in the advertisement are graphic and realistic, and will confront, challenge and perhaps shock smokers."

Research conducted by the Health Promotion Agency suggests there is a real need to show smokers the link between smoking and the effect it has on their health.

Artery advertisement

The research indicates that while most smokers know about the link between smoking and lung cancer, they have little knowledge about the link between smoking and heart disease, stroke and other cancers.

The artery advertisement at the centre of the campaign has been produced to highlight, in particular, the link between smoking and heart disease.

The television advertising starts on Tuesday and will run until 31 March 2002.

A freephone helpline for smokers has been established as part of the campaign. The number is 0800 858585.

One million beer mats promoting the smokers' helpline number are being distributed to pubs and clubs throughout Northern Ireland.

Information about the campaign will also be distributed to GP surgeries, pharmacies and dentists.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Colette Maguire:
"Health professionals are hoping this latest campaign including a new stomach-churning ad will make a difference"
BBC NI's Alex Fielding reports:
"In-patient care linked to smoking costs 22m each year"
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