Cambridgeshire women share experiences of quitting smoking in TV advert that warns cigarette poisons travel to organs in seconds

PUBLISHED: 09:49 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 29 December 2017

A film to support the TV advert shows seven lifelong smokers - including TV presenter and entrepreneur Hilary Devey - have declared their intention to quit in January after seeing the results of a lab demonstration.

A film to support the TV advert shows seven lifelong smokers - including TV presenter and entrepreneur Hilary Devey - have declared their intention to quit in January after seeing the results of a lab demonstration.


Two Cambridgeshire women have shared their experiences of quitting smoking following a warning from Public Health England that cigarette poisons travel to organs in just seconds.

After research showed that more than six people in the East of England are admitted to hospital every hour with a smoking related illness, a new TV advert has been released to highlight how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream and spread all over the body.

The TV advert comes as England’s seven million smokers are urged to make a quit attempt with help from Smokefree this New Year.

The latest campaign shows how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream, spreading around the body within seconds and causing damage to major organs.

Neil Wood, PHE East of England health and wellbeing manager, said: “Smoking is a deadly habit. Each year it kills 26,508 in the East of England and 59,063 people are admitted to hospital with smoking related illnesses – which works out to be more than six an hour.

“Our new TV advert shows how every cigarette sends a flood of poisonous chemicals through the bloodstream in seconds. We are urging every smoker in the East of England to take advantage of the free Smokefree support and quit for good this New Year.”

A film to support the TV advert shows seven lifelong smokers - including TV presenter and entrepreneur Hilary Devey - have declared their intention to quit in January after seeing the results of a lab demonstration.

The test results show how their smoking has led to elevated levels of cadmium (a metal used in batteries), cancer-causing nitrosamines and carbon monoxide in their blood.

These toxic substances are amongst over 4,000 chemicals released into the body with each cigarette smoked, including more than 70 known cancer-causing compounds.

Amanda Briggs-Temple, of Peterborough

Amanda was smoking over 20 cigarettes a day for the past 31 years. In September, this year, the 45-year-old office manager for Balfour Beatty, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary dsease (COPD), a type of lung disease characterised by long-term breathing problems. She said the diagnosis was a wakeup call that it was time to take charge of her life and break her smoking habit for good.

Amanda, who is engaged to her childhood friend Colin White, aged 49, plans to get married in 2020. It was the thought of not making it to her wedding day, and leaving loved ones behind, that motivated her to take charge of her health and manage her condition. She said: “I know that smoking is bad for me but it still came as a shock when I was diagnosed with COPD, which is an irreversible condition. Words cannot describe how low I felt knowing that I might not make it down the aisle and become Mrs White if I carried on smoking. After doing my research I learned that I can manage my condition if I stop smoking for good. So that was really positive.”

In October, this year, Amanda took part in Stoptober which is Public Health England’s campaign, challenging smokers to give up cigarettes for 28 days during the month of October. With the help of the Stoptober app and nicotine patches, which she is no longer using, Amanda has been smokefree for 13 weeks (from w/c 24 December 2017). She said: “It makes me quite speechless to learn how many people in the East of England are admitted to hospital because of smoking related illnesses. It doesn’t surprise me that the younger generation is smoking less because we didn’t have the health information that is available today.

She added: “To anyone who is thinking about giving up smoking but are too afraid to break a lifelong habit, my advice is go for it! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life and I feel better for it. Going smoke free is so much easier than it used to be because the support is out there and the Stoptober app is brilliant because it provides advice and is very engaging so you never feel alone. I never thought I would be smokefree because I never thought I had the willpower, but I do.”

Mandy Pike, of Huntingdon

Mandy agrees that it is hard, but worth it. Mandy stopped smoking using Stoptober. She spoke to a cessation nurse and the next day purchased patches and an inhalator. Coupled with using the app along with the nurse encouraging her daily, she has not had a drag since. Mandy is the first to admit that it was very difficult to begin with, but says that it definitely became easier. She said she will always be a smoker but has promised herself and her sons that she will never have another cigarette.

Exposure to cadmium for a long period of time is associated with an increased risk of damage to the kidneys and bones and may lead to lung cancer. Research has shown that if you regularly smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day, you are twice as likely to develop kidney cancer compared with a non-smoker.

Tobacco Specific Nitrosamines (TSNAs) are potent chemical compounds, many of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). They can cause DNA damage, cell death and are associated with cancers of the pancreas, mouth, respiratory and digestive tracts.

Carbon monoxide decreases the ability of the blood to carry oxygen and consequently puts a strain on the heart. Carbon monoxide is also associated with an increased risk of blood clots and coronary heart disease.5

Dr Dawn Harper, GP and medical journalist, said: “I see the damaging effects of smoking in my surgery almost every day. Tar from cigarettes causes damage to major organs, the bones and increases your risk of a range of cancers and diseases.

“But, the good news is that no matter how long you’ve smoked, quitting can reduce your chances of developing cancer, heart and lung disease and other serious smoking related illnesses. Some of the benefits are almost immediate, with improved energy and breathing within a matter of days.

“I know how difficult it is to stop but the important thing is to commit to trying again, no matter how many times you might have tried and failed in the past – it’s never too late.”

Smokefree provides motivation, information and support for smokers who want to stop. Just search ‘Smokefree’ for free support and advice to help you quit smoking.


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