Smokers who roll their own cigarettes targeted by south west health campaign
SMOKEFREE South West has launched the latest phase of the hugely successful campaign Wise-Up to Roll-Ups.
The South West remains the region with the highest proportion of hand rolled tobacco smokers in the UK, accounting for more than half of the South West's 810,000 smokers.
First launched in 2011, the Wise-Up to Roll-Ups campaign proved successful in both raising the awareness of the dangers of hand rolling tobacco and helping smokers to quit. Almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) of respondents said they have either completely quit or are smoking less as a result of the information they received from the campaign and it is hoped that this New Year will act as a catalyst for more hand rolling tobacco smokers to quit for good in 2013.
The campaign aims to dispel the myths that smoking hand rolling tobacco is a less harmful and more 'natural' alternative to smoking manufactured, packaged cigarettes.
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Smoking hand rolling tobacco contains as many harmful chemicals as manufactured cigarettes and causes the same health risks including cancer, stroke, heart and lung disease, impotence, infertility, and even amputation. Yet many hand rolled tobacco smokers believe that by rolling their own cigarettes reduces associated health risks.
There are more than 4,000 toxic chemicals inhaled when smoking hand rolling tobacco, many of which are carcinogenic and poisonous. The chemicals include:
• Cadmium - a highly poisonous metal used in batteries
• Formaldehyde - a highly poisonous and used to preserve dead bodies
• Ammonia - usually found in strong cleaning fluids
• Benzene - used as a solvent in fuel
• Cyanide - industrial pollutant
• Arsenic - a deadly poison found in insecticides
Fiona Andrews, director of Smokefree South West, said: "This New Year acts as a fantastic opportunity for smokers to quit for good and start 2013 afresh. Despite the past successes of the Wise-Up to Roll-Ups campaign, smoking hand rolling tobacco remains a popular choice amongst many smokers in the region. Wise-Up to Roll-Ups remains the only campaign nationally to depose the myths and tell smokers the real risks of smoking hand rolling tobacco.
"Rolling your own cigarettes can often be seen as a skill, where smokers can also regulate the amount of tobacco they smoke. Many indeed believe smoking in this way is even less harmful for you. This is simply not true and smoking hand rolling tobacco carries the same kinds of health risks to smokers as manufactured cigarettes, such as cancer and lung disease.
"Hand rolling tobacco smokers are often 'immune' to most other anti-smoking campaigns as they don't think of themselves as 'normal' smokers. We hope this new campaign will prove as successful as it has done in the past and continues to reduce the large numbers of people still smoking hand rolling tobacco in the South West."
Dr Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "As the purse strings tighten smoking rolling tobacco is becoming a popular choice among many smokers. However, although it may be a cheaper alternative, smoking hand rolling tobacco remains as dangerous and deadly as any other form of tobacco consumption, something many people are still unaware of.
"The campaign, Wise-Up to Roll-Ups dispels the myths that hand-rolled cigarettes are more 'natural' and so less harmful than manufactured cigarettes, and urges smokers to use the New Year to quit now."
The Wise-Up to Roll-Ups campaign will feature TV and radio adverts as well as eye catching billboards across the region.