May 5 2016
A CAMPAIGN warning how smoking can cause 16 different types of cancer has resulted in thousands of people in the North East taking steps to quit.
Fresh's Quit 16 campaign, supported by Cancer Research UK, highlighted the toll smoking-related cancers have on families in the region, with an estimated 3,077 new cases of cancer and 2,192 deaths from cancer in the North East in 2013.
The campaign is launched again this week.
Smoking is the biggest cause of lung cancer, however it also causes cancers of the mouth, nasal cavities, pharynx and larynx, stomach, kidney, bowel, liver, pancreas, cervix, bladder and ovaries, oesophagus and ureter, as well as myeloid leukaemia.
Quit 16 shared the stories of former smokers from across the region who have been affected by a smoking related cancer, including Dave McKenna, from Saltburn, who lost his hearing after mouth cancer treatment, Maggie Bratton, from Northumberland, who needed surgery and a plastic replacement for the roof of her mouth which she now cannot speak without, Tony Osborne, from Middlesbrough, who now speaks using a valve in his neck after throat cancer, and Lauren Joyce, from Stockton, whose dad begged his family to quit smoking before he died of bowel cancer.
Research after the campaign found that:
- 7/10 smokers were more concerned about smoking after seeing it
- 16% of smokers who saw the campaign cut down (around 53,000 smokers)
- 4% switched to an electronic cigarette (around 13,000 people
- Nearly 9% smokers who saw it made a quit attempt (around 28,000 people)
Maggie Bratton, from Northumberland, was diagnosed with mouth cancer at just 45 and underwent surgery to remove the roof of her mouth and now relies on a plastic replacement to eat and talk. The 60-year-old shared her story in support of Quit 16 and she has been overwhelmed by the positive impact her experiences have had on other people, not just in the North East but internationally.
She said: "I'm so pleased I told my story. I have family in Canada and I know the film has been shared with so many people over there as well as here. I've heard from lots of people saying that they've tried to quit smoking as a result.
"The feedback from friends has been overwhelming and it's great to see the impact the Quit 16 campaign has had. I always said that if sharing my story could help just one person then it would be worthwhile so I have done what I set out to do.
"I hope even more smokers are inspired to give quitting a go, it really can change your life."
Fresh's Quit 16 campaign will be running again throughout May to encourage people to find out about local support and free quitting tools available at Quit16.co.uk
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "We know there's worryingly low awareness of the links between smoking and 16 different types of cancer in the North East and that's exactly why Quit 16 was so important.
"It's encouraging to see so many people across the region take positive steps to reduce the amount they smoke or to quit altogether.
"We're once again asking anyone who smokes to consider the long term effects this could have on your life and that of your family. Quitting isn't always easy but there is plenty of support available to give you the best chance of stopping for good."
Dr Tony Branson, Medical Director - Cancer, NHS England's Northern England Strategic Clinical Networks, said: "Preventing cancer is always better than treating it, and every year thousands of people in the North East are diagnosed with, or receive treatment for cancers as a result of years of smoking.
"Smoking is the biggest single cause of cancer and we need to do all we can to raise awareness of the risks and encourage people to stop for good as soon as possible."
Abigail Brown, Head of Health Campaigns and Marketing at Cancer Research UK, said: "Campaigns such as 16 Cancers really bring home the terrible damage to health caused by smoking. They play an important role in helping to reduce smoking prevalence and reminding everyone of the risks of smoking."
To get your quit attempt underway, ask at your GP surgery or pharmacy, or contact your local stop smoking service for help and support to get your quit attempt underway:
Live Well Gateshead
0800 014 9092
0191 424 7300
0800 531 6317
01670 813 135
0345 2000 101
0191 269 1103
0800 772 0565
Tees (Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Hartlepool)
01642 383 819
0300 123 1044(national quitline only)