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Council backs smoking campaign

Posted onPosted on 29th Dec

Nottinghamshire County Council is raising awareness of the health dangers of roll-up cigarettes, and encouraging smokers across the county to give up the habit in the New Year as part a new campaign being led by Public Health England.

The campaign features hard-hitting new adverts showing a hand-rolled cigarette with rotting flesh instead of tobacco, with the message that ‘smoking rots you from the inside out’. It comes following evidence that many smokers are turning to roll-ups, wrongly convinced that they are less harmful than ‘normal’ cigarettes.

Use of roll-ups has increased significantly in recent years. In 1990, 18% of male smokers and 2% of female smokers said they smoked mainly hand-rolled cigarettes, but by 2013 this had risen to 40% for men and 23% for women.

New figures show that half of smokers (49%) who only smoke roll-ups wrongly believe they are less harmful than manufactured cigarettes. In fact, hand-rolled cigarettes are at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette.

Smoking rates in Nottinghamshire have dropped to 18.4%, although there are areas and populations where this figure is much higher. The Council continues to commission free specialist stop smoking services for residents via New Leaf on 0800 389 7712 and GPs and pharmacies – people are four times more likely to stop smoking successfully using these types of services.

Dr Chris Kenny, Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City said:

“We’re trying to break down some preconceptions that some smokers have about the damage they could be doing to themselves. We know that many people in Nottinghamshire smoke roll up cigarettes, and that often people think in some way that they are less damaging. In actual fact evidence shows that roll ups are at least as bad for your health as normal cigarettes.
Whilst many smokers know that smoking causes cancer and harms the lungs and heart, the new report highlights how it also damages:

• Bones and muscles – Smoking causes progressive harm to the musculoskeletal system, and has a negative impact on bone mineral density. Harms include:
• 25% increased risk of any fracture and a 40% increase in the risk of hip fractures among men
• Slower healing after injury
• Increased risk of back and neck pain, leading to a 79% increase in chronic back pain and a 114% increase in disabling lower back pain
• Significant cause of rheumatoid arthritis and can reduce the impact of treatment
• Brain – Current smokers are 53% more likely to develop cognitive impairment than non-smokers and 59% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
• Teeth – Smoking increases the likelihood of tooth loss and decay
• Eyes – Smoking damages sight by increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 78%-358% and increasing the risk of age-related cataracts

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing for Public Health
England added:

“Much of the harm caused by smoking doesn’t become obvious until middle age but the invisible damage can start shockingly early – even by the late teens. The earlier a smoker quits the better, but quitting at any age can help reverse at least some of the damage. That’s why there is no time better than now to quit. Stop smoking and stop the rot.”

Digital and print billboards will feature a roll-up cigarette full of decaying tissue, whilst an online viral will see a father casually rolling up a cigarette formed of rotting human flesh – all bringing to life the fact that: ‘every cigarette rots you from the inside out’. This will be joined by the ‘Mutations’ and ‘Toxic Cycle’ adverts used in previous campaigns.

Smokers looking to quit are being encouraged to search ‘Smokefree’ online for the full range of free tools and support, or contact New Leaf or their GP or pharmacy directly for local support.