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Free help to give up smoking as hard-hitting new TV advert starts

Press Release   •   Jan 09, 2018 11:52 GMT

Health bosses in Bury urge smokers to get free support to quit as a new hard-hitting TV advert highlights how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream and spread all over the body.

In Bury, some 1,792 people were admitted to hospital in 2015/16 with a smoking related illness.

Free personalised ‘stop smoking’ support is available locally via the Bury Lifestyle Service. For more information call 0161 253 7554 or email

Public Health England (PHE) has released a new TV advert highlighting the dangers of tar in cigarettes, 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.

To help explain the ongoing internal harm being caused, a group of seven lifelong smokers - including TV presenter and entrepreneur Hilary Devey - declare 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 among more than 4,000 chemicals released into the body with each cigarette smoked, including more than 70 known cancer-causingcompounds.

Elevated levels of these substances were seen in the participants’ blood and can lead to an increased risk of major damage to the body.

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 demonstrated 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.

In the new film that supports the TV advert, Dr Dawn Harper, a GP from Gloucester, explains the results of the tests to the smokers and how the quality of their blood would start to improve when they quit – ridding them of harmful poisons which cause major damage to the body. Dr Dawn advises the smokers that there are many ways to quit, including free proven support from NHS Smokefree. People can choose what works best for them: face-to-face help, stop smoking aids, a quitting app, email, social media, and SMS support. Find out more at

Lesley Jones, director of public health in Bury, said: “Smoking is a deadly habit and each year it kills around 500 people in Bury and in 2014-16 the number of potential years of life lost due to smoking related illness in Bury was 4,727 years. The dangers of continuing to smoke are clear, with 35 people being admitted to hospital in Bury every week throughout 2015 due to smoking.

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

Dr Dawn Harper, GP and medical journalist, says: “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.”

Hilary Devey, TV presenter, entrepreneur and lifelong smoker, says:

“I’ve smoked at least 20 a day for over 40 years. Like many, I’ve been hooked on cigarettes and ignoring the damage – even though I know the harm I’m doing, I’ve found it extremely difficult to quit for good. Even a stroke three years ago only led me to stop temporarily.

“Seeing the high levels of poisonous chemicals in my blood from these tests really hit home how dangerous continuing to smoke is – and for that reason, I’m done!

“I’m absolutely determined to try again this New Year and I hope other smokers across the country will join me making full use of all the free help available at Smokefree - this time next year we could be celebrating one year smoke-free and feeling the benefits.”

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.


Press release issued: 9 January 2018.

Notes to Editors:

  • For more information, please / 0203 003 6495 / 077935 33774
  • To find out more about the range of free support and tools available to help people quit smoking, please search ‘NHS Smokefree’ online
  • To download all Smokefree films and images, please visit:
  • Carbon Monoxide, one of the toxic substances identified at elevated levels in the lab demonstration, is not contained in tar but is one of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
  • PHE exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. For more information on PHE visit or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk