The 16 Cancers Campaign

Fresh is launching the 16 Cancers campaign, aimed at encouraging smokers across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham to make a quit attempt.

“Keep trying to quit - you don’t want to hear the word ‘cancer’ diagnosed.”

  • Warning from ex-smoker Sue for new quit campaign (image, video footage and interviews available)

A FORMER smoker who was diagnosed with cancer aged just 47 is urging smokers to never give up on quitting for the launch of a new campaign.

Sue Mountain, from South Tyneside, underwent laser treatment in 2012 after a biopsy revealed she had throat cancer.  The cancer returned in 2014 which required radiotherapy every day for four weeks.

With smoking causing 14.7% of cancer cases and 27% of all cancer deaths in England, it is estimated that smoking causes 44,100 new cases of cancer and over 36,600 deaths from cancer a year. For the North East, that means smoking cause over 2300 new cases of cancer a year and over 2000 deaths from cancer every year.

Sue’s warning how smoking affected not just on health but her job, finances and family comes as the 16 Cancers campaign launches across the North East with regional TV advertising from North of England Cancer Alliances and with Fresh running a campaign on buses, radio and press advertising in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham. Smokers can visit to find tips to quit and details of local support.

Sue said: “I started smoking when I was eleven to fit in - as a kid you don’t realise how addictive it is. I was addicted. I needed that nicotine craving.

When I look back at what I have spent on cigarettes, it must have been £50,000 at least. It could have bought me half a house, instead of cancer.

I tried a million times and the only advice I can say is keep trying, it’s worth it 100%.  I never ever thought all those times I quit and failed that I would get to this point in my life. But you’ve got to keep trying. You don’t want to hear the word ‘cancer’ diagnosed.”

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: “Whether you smoke roll ups or cigarettes, smoking causes 16 cancers as tobacco pumps poisons around the body. It’s not just the lungs but the mouth, throat, liver, bowel and bladder".

North East smoking rates have fallen by 44% since 2005 when 29% of North East adults smoked down to 16.2% of people in 2017 – around a quarter of a million fewer people smoking. 

Besides lung cancer, smoking 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. There is also some evidence that smoking could cause breast cancer.

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