Wakefield Council launches hard-hitting campaign that highlights 16 cancers linked to smoking

​Date:01/02/2016

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Every year 375 people from the Wakefield district discover they have cancer caused by smoking.

Latest figures (from 2014) show that Wakefield has the third highest proportion of adult smokers in Yorkshire and the Humber.

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 launched today, Monday 1 February, and runs throughout the month. 

Dr Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health at Wakefield Council, 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

Cllr Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health at Wakefield Council said: "We want to make sure the next generation of children born and brought up in Wakefield district, never start smoking and grow up free of the terrible health harms associated with tobacco. If you smoke, trying to quit is a great way to help make that happen."

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 to 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."