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Monday, June 13, 2011

Anti-smoking campaign launched


Smokers will be asked to consider how their smoking-related death would hurt someone they love, in a HSE
campaign getting underway today.


The campaign, which will run on bill-boards and in radio advertisements, tells smokers one in every two of them will die of a smoking-related illness, and encourages them to seek help quitting. In the autumn the campaign will extend to television advertising.
"In surveys we have carried out the vast majority of smokers don't actually realise just how much risk they are putting their health at," said Dr Fenton Howell, Director of Public Health with the HSE.
"Just seven per cent knew one in every two smokers would die of a smoking-related disease. People know about lung cancer but not so much about heart disease, throat cancer and all the other illnesses caused by smoking.
"There is a huge lack of knowledge here and our aim here is make people realise the effect smoking has on not just them but their loved ones too."
<h3>The campaign slogan will be: "One in every two smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease. Can you live with that?"</h3>
Dr Howell said the focus was on the "one in two" to also emphasise how at least a second person is affected by a smoking-related death "whether that second person is the smoker's sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife or boyfriend or girlfriend, or friend.
"So we're saying to smokers, 'It's not just about you. Your death would be a huge loss to someone you love'.
"We want to encourage people to give up and also to tell them there is a lot of help out there and people should use this help. You wouldn't attempt to learn to drive or to swim without help, so why would you try and quit smoking without expert help?"
Among the resources people could use were their GP, pharmacist, the National Smoker's Quitline, support groups and the website www.quit.ie.
Dr Howell said about 80 per cent of smokers wanted to quit and about 40 per cent tried every year. "Most people need help and the more help you get the more likely you are to succeed."
About 24 per cent of the adult population here smoked, he continued, and this proportion had remained static over the past ten years. "Where we are succeeding is among young people who are not taking up smoking in as large numbers as they used to. The ban on point-of-sale advertising has been effective there, and that's the next generation.
"What we're focusing on here are the older established smokers who want to quit."

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