Rotherham Council is raising awareness of the link between smoking and cancer as part of a regional campaign.
While most smokers know about the link between smoking and lung cancer, many people do not realise that smoking is linked with not one but 16 different cancers, including cancers of the mouth, nasal cavities, pharynx and larynx, stomach, kidney, bowel, liver, pancreas, ureter, oesophagus, cervix, bladder and ovaries as well as myeloid leukaemia.
Quit16 is a hard-hitting campaign that highlights the 16 cancers associated with smoking and asks people to quit. It is the first region-wide anti-smoking campaign that includes advertising on television and online, by local tobacco control alliances, collaborating as Breathe 2025, and supported by Cancer Research UK.
It is based on a campaign first developed and run in Australia in 2014 by the Cancer Council Western Australia, with 74% of smokers who saw it seriously considering quitting and 20% discussing quitting with a health professional as a result.
Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest adult smoking rates in the country, with 20% of adults still smoking.
The campaign and runs throughout the month of February. The campaign website is www.QUIT16.co.uk
Advisory Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Cllr David Roche said: “The films and message are brutally honest: there are 16 cancers caused by smoking. Some will kill you quickly, others more slowly and it’s you and your family that have to live through it. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do to reduce the risk that one of those deaths will be you.
“Quitting isn’t easy but there is lots of help out there from face to face support to personalised texts, emails and apps. You can find out details of support near you on our website Quit16.co.uk”
Director of Public Health Rotherham, Teresa Roche said: “We know that most young people in Rotherham don’t smoke, but our ultimate aim is that no children and young people use tobacco. Children are three times more likely to start smoking if they live with parents or carers who smoke, so encouraging adults to quit is one of the most important things we can do to create a smokefree generation.”
Dr Louise Merriman, the GP cancer lead at the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Clinical Network said: “Most people are aware that smoking can cause lung cancer, but there is a huge lack of general awareness about the true health harms of smoking. People who smoke are at an increased risk of a range of cancers and you’re also more likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, and develop different health conditions including coronary heart disease.
“We want to encourage all smokers out there to find out more about quitting. Your GP can give you lots of advice and information and there are a range of resources available to help you.”
Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health and patient information, said: “Many people are aware of the link between smoking and lung cancer but many are unaware that it’s linked too many other cancers as well, including mouth, bowel and bladder cancer.
“The best thing smokers can do is give up - for their own health as well as their friends’ and family’s. Quitting can be extremely difficult, but it greatly reduces the risk of smoking-related cancers, as well as other illness such as heart and lung disease.
For those who are ready to give up, local Stop Smoking Services are the best place to start. The earlier you stop smoking the better but it’s never too late to quit.”