This story was published 2 January 2018

A new, hard-hitting national TV campaign that highlights how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream and spread all over the body is being backed by North Yorkshire County Council.

Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of ill health and early death

The campaign reinforces the Council’s drive to reduce cigarette smoking in North Yorkshire. Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of ill health and early death in the county, killing more than 1,000 people in North Yorkshire every year.

The TV campaign demonstrates the ongoing internal bodily harm caused by smoking followed by a group of seven lifelong smokers declaring their intention to quit in January after seeing their results of the lab demonstration.

The lab test results show how their smoking has led to higher than average levels of cadmium (a metal used in batteries), cancer-causing nitrosamines and carbon monoxide in their blood. These toxic substances are among more than 4,000 chemicals released into the body with each cigarette smoked, including over 70 known cancer-causing compounds. 

Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, said: “Exposure to cadmium for a long period of time is associated with an increased risk of damage to the kidneys and bones and may lead to lung cancer. Research has shown that if you regularly smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day, you are twice as likely to develop kidney cancer compared with a non-smoker.

“Tobacco contains potent chemical compounds, many of which are cancer-causing. They can cause DNA damage, cell death and are associated with cancers of the pancreas, mouth, respiratory and digestive tracts.

“Carbon monoxide decreases the ability of the blood to carry oxygen and consequently puts a strain on the heart. It is also associated with an increased risk of blood clots and coronary heart disease”.

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: “We know that smoking is a deadly habit and the new TV campaign shows how every cigarette sends a flood of poisonous chemicals through the bloodstream in seconds.

“We are urging every smoker in North Yorkshire to give the habit up for good in 2018. The quality of their blood will start to improve when they quit, ridding them of harmful poisons which cause major damage to the body.

“We do know how difficult it can be to stop, but the important thing is to commit to trying again. No matter how many times you might have tried and failed in the past, it’s never too late. In North Yorkshire, free advice and support is available from the Smokefreelife Service, where you get support through a stop-smoking service to quit. You’re more likely to be successful than if you go it alone.”

Smokefreelife North Yorkshire offers a free, flexible support package to suit the individual. Smokers wanting to stop can attend clinics, drop-ins, receive nicotine replacement therapy or talk to specialist advisers over the phone. Visit www.smokefreelifenorthyorkshire.co.uk, call 0800 2465 215 or 01609 663023 or text QUIT to 66777 to find out more.

It is also an e-cigarette friendly stop smoking service. That means anyone who wants to use an e-cigarette to help them to give up can still use face-to-face support and clinics that the service provides. E-cigarettes are now the most popular aid to quitting smoking and carry only a fraction of the risk that smoking tobacco does.

Public Health England advice is that smokers - particularly those who have tried other quitting methods without success - should try e-cigarettes and people who are both vaping and smoking at the same time should make the full switch and stop smoking completely.