Harm caused by smoking emphasised


Young women under the age of 30 are being targeted in a new campaign which emphasises the harmful effects that smoking can have on the skin.

The ‘I’ll Quit When I’m 30’ campaign encourages women to pick their quit date and then plan, prepare and get help in advance so that they can take control of their lives.

It emphasises that prolonged smoking can lead to premature wrinkles, yellowish skin, discoloured teeth and yellowed fingers.

As part of the campaign, which is timed to be launched on Ash Wednesday, the Irish Cancer Society has also launched a leaflet entitled The Beauty of Quitting. This also addresses the issue of weight gain, which is frequently cited by women as a deterrent to quitting smoking.

Irish Cancer Society health promotions manager Norma Cronin said the threat of long-term illness does not have the same affect on young people as it does on those who are older.

“It is very important to focus on many of the immediate benefits of quitting smoking because many young people are not as concerned about the long-term health consequences,” she said.

“A lot of women are concerned about their looks and we are emphasising how smoking affects their face, their wrinkles and their skin. Generally they have a much greater quality of skin and complexion when they quit.”

Operation Transformation volunteer Grace Batterberry quit smoking eight weeks ago as part of her get fit campaign and is now promoting the I’ll Quit When I’m 30 campaign. She used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day and had originally got involved in Operation Transformation to lose weight, rather than quit smoking.

“I didn’t think it was my time to give them up. There’s never a good time. It is a total lifestyle change for me. I feel a lot fresher, brighter and more energetic especially in the morning for giving them up,” she said.

Recent research has shown that lung cancer now kills more women every year in Ireland than breast cancer with 702 women dying from lung cancer and 634 from breast cancer.

The rise has been put down to the increasing number of women who have taken up smoking in the last 30 years.

New cases of lung cancer in women have increased by 17.6 per cent in 2010, according to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland.