A NEW hard hitting and emotional campaign has been launched in an attempt to tackle smoking in the North East
It comes on the back of a survey which reveals that more than six out of 10 smokers admit their family worry about their smoking.
The poll also found that nine out 10 smokers underestimate the risk of dying from smoking related illnesses.
So can a TV ad change someone’s lifestyle for the better?
Reporter Lucy Moody investigates.
‘Don’t be the one’ is the latest campaign to try to get smokers in the region to stop smoking.
The campaign aims to encourage the North East’s 460,000 smokers to seek help and support to kick the habit – for the sake of their loved ones as well as themselves.
Alisa Rutter, Director of FRESH, who is behind the new campaign, said: ”This is an emotional advert and it’s a very tough advert but unfortunately this is the reality for thousands of families across the North East every year.
“Around 4,000 people die every year in our region from totally avoidable smoking related causes.
“That’s why we’ve gone for this hard hitting approach and we do really think it’s going to have an impact.”
Alisa added: “A smoker’s risk of dying early from a tobacco related disease is much higher than being hit by a bus or winning the lottery.
“We’re really concerned that nine out of 10 smokers in the North East seriously underestimate their risks of dying from smoking.”
The TV ad urges smokers to follow ‘Don’t BeThe1.tv’ for support as well as going online to order a free Quit Kit.
As part of the campaign, family members are also able to send e-cards to their loved ones telling them to stop smoking and explaining their concerns and why they care.
Alisa added: “The e-cards are a way of sending a message to someone you love to tell them ‘I’m really worried about your smoking – I don’t want you to be the one’ and urge them to quit smoking.
“We want as many people as possible over the next month to share this e-card because we do know that eight out of 10 North East smokers wish they’d never started.
“It’s a powerful addiction but if family, friends and loved ones get in touch with people they love saying I don’t want you to be the one, I think it’s going to be a really powerful campaign.
“There’s a lot of great support for local smokers to help them quit smoking. You can download free apps from the NHS and even receive supportive texts to encourage you and in Darlington and Durham, there are some fantastic stop smoking services. So if you are thinking of quitting smoking, there hasn’t been a better time, as there’s so much free help.”
A group of Teesside students, who viewed the new ad, all agreed it was emotional and hard-hitting.
Natalie New, 20, a Civil Engineering student, said: “The ad is so sad. It’s shocking to see the child looking all innocent and happy then suddenly everything turns for the worst.
“He’s too young to lose his Mam and have to take on the responsibility of looking after himself.”
Psychology student Alex Gray, 20, said: “Wow that’s powerful.
“I definitely think this ad will urge smokers to quit because it’s a situation a lot of smokers could see themselves in. I like the slogan ‘Don’t be the One’ because it addresses people’s reluctance to believe it could happen to them.”
Computer Science student, Will Redding, 20, added: “Wow that’s such a good TV campaign – it’s really powerful and that’s exactly what is needed to get people to stop smoking.”
If you would like more information, visit the Fresh website.