Public Health England (PHE) releases a new TV advert highlighting the dangers of tar in cigarettes, as England’s 7 million smokers are urged to make a quit attempt with help from Smokefree this New Year. The latest campaign shows how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream, spreading around the body within seconds and causing damage to major organs.

To help explain the ongoing internal harm being caused, a group of seven lifelong smokers – including TV presenter and entrepreneur – Hilary Devey declare their intention to quit in January after seeing the results of a lab demonstration. The test results show how their smoking has led to elevated levels of cadmium (a metal used in batteries), cancer-causing nitrosamines and carbon monoxide in their blood. These toxic substances are amongst over 4,000 chemicals released into the body with each cigarette smoked, including more than 70 known cancer-causing compounds.

Elevated levels of these substances were seen in the participants’ blood and can lead to an increased risk of major damage to the body.

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 Specific Nitrosamines (TSNAs) are potent chemical compounds, many of which are carcinogenic (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. Carbon monoxide is also associated with an increased risk of blood clots and coronary heart disease.4

In the new film that supports the TV advert, Dr Dawn Harper, GP from Gloucester, explains the results of the tests to the smokers and how the quality of their blood would start to improve when they quit – ridding them of harmful poisons which cause major damage to the body. Dr Dawn advises the smokers that there are many ways to quit, including free proven support from NHS Smokefree. People can choose what works best for them: face-to-face help, stop smoking aids, a quitting app, email, social media, and SMS support. Find out more at www.nhs.uk/smokefree

Eloise a smoker from Devon said:

“I’ve tried to quit smoking on and off for years, but this time I’m really determined.

“Finding out about the cancer-causing chemicals that are in my blood due to smoking was really scary but it it’s encouraging to learn that once you quit many of them, such as carbon monoxide, can fall fast.

“There has never been more support available, so with the help of Smokefree and e-cigarettes this new year I’m kicking the habit for good!”

Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:

“We all know that smoking is bad for us, but many of us don’t actually realise just how many adverse ways it can affect our health.  Smoking not only damages our heart and internal organs, but it also poisons our blood, increases the likelihood of a number of cancers including breast cancer, and causes premature ageing to our skin.

“Taking the decision to quit could be the best decision a person could make for themselves and their families, and there is a wealth of support and advice available to anyone who needs it, including our telephone support service at OneSmallStep.”

Russ Moody, Health & Wellbeing Programme Lead says:

“Smoking is a deadly habit. Last year in the region, 25,244 smokers died from a smoking related illness in South West and 55,450 were admitted to hospital with a smoking related illness.

“Our new TV ad shows how every cigarette sends a flood of poisonous chemicals through the bloodstream in seconds. We are urging every smoker in the South West to take advantage of the free Smokefree support and quit for good this New Year.”

Smokefree provides motivation, information and support for smokers who want to stop. Just search ‘Smokefree’ for free support and advice to help you quit smoking.

 Attributable deaths by smoking in the region 2014-16

South West region 25,224
Bath and North East Somer… 667
Bournemouth 858
Bristol 1,745
Cornwall 2,970
Devon 3,711
Dorset 2,174
Gloucestershire 2,705
North Somerset 996
Plymouth 1,329
Poole 712
Somerset 2,655
South Gloucestershire 937
Swindon 886
Torbay 890
Wiltshire 1,990