A hard hitting advert about how smoking causes early death will be broadcast to homes in Bristol and beyond tonight. The campaign, which was developed by Smokefree South West, urges smokers to be there tomorrow for their family and loved ones.
Smoking still remains the biggest cause of premature death in England, accounting for 80,000 deaths a year with half of all long-term smokers dying early from a smoking related disease. We hope more will join the 125,000 smokers in the South West who made a positive step towards quitting last year as a result of the campaign.
Cllr Daniella Radice, Assistant Mayor for Public Health, said: "Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health but most people still don't think it will affect them. Figures show that smoking will kill one in two smokers, often much quicker than expected and after long periods of serious illness.
"This heart wrenching advert will help more people to find the motivation needed to reach the help they need to finally quit."
Bristol local, Kathleen Butt, is a great example of someone who managed to quit even after years of heavy smoking. She started smoking at the age of 11 and continued for the next 56 years, by the end of which she was smoking 70 roll ups a day.
Kathleen Butt added: "Every six months I would buy 100 pouches of tobacco just for my own consumption. It was only when I counted all of them up that I realised how much I was smoking."
A traumatic experience in May 2013 when her purchase was seized by Customs, who could not believe the tobacco was all for her, was a moment of epiphany for her where she realised she had to stop.
Kathleen tried smoking e-cigarettes to curb her addiction to tobacco but found herself becoming addicted to these too.
But a corner had been turned and she called Smokefree Bristol to find that they were starting a new Stop Smoking group at the Fishponds Primary Care Centre that very night. Kathleen decided to attend.
Last January she was prescribed patches and managed to stop smoking completely by May.
Sheer determination, willpower and support from Smokefree Bristol's stop smoking group had got her through.
Cllr Daniella Radice added: "Kathleen is a great example of someone who has overcome her addiction. I hope that other people will see her as an inspiration to quit smoking themselves."
For more information on how Smokefree Bristol can support you to quit smoking for good, visit www.smokefreebristol.com.