Don’t ignore the fact – smoking kills

By on 26/11/2013 in Cllr Bedser, News

The letter below was published by the Birmingham Mail.

We’re writing to express deep concern and disappointment at this newspaper’s recent coverage of the Japan Tobacco International campaign to counter the illegal tobacco trade.

While accepting that this trade is a problem, a far bigger issue for this city is that cigarettes – fake and legal – kill thousands of people in Birmingham every year.

Let’s not pretend tobacco companies are concerned with the welfare of their customers. They have one bottom line and that’s profit. As a consequence, they attack anyone or anything that threatens those profits. That includes the smoking ban, plain packaging and illicit tobacco.

The other side of that story is that every year over 4,500 Birmingham people die from a smoking related disease. A number of these people will be Birmingham Mail readers and we need your support to help as many people as possible quit this deadly habit.

Only a small proportion of those 4,500 people will be smoking counterfeit cigarettes, so any suggestion from tobacco companies that there are safe and unsafe cigarettes is frankly laughable. Both genuine and counterfeit cigarettes are extremely toxic products. There are no safe cigarettes and there is no safe level of smoking.

The only safe option is to quit and while we accept that is easier said than done, support is available in Birmingham to help people give up this deadly habit.

The Birmingham Mail has been extremely supportive of a number of health campaigns in the city – notably our ongoing efforts to combat obesity. The fight against smoking requires similar support and is far more important than a campaign to protect the profits of tobacco companies.

For further information on quitting and to find out about local clinics contact ‘Call2Quit’ on free phone 0800 052 5855 or text ‘Quit’ to 80 800. Alternatively, go to: http://www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/about-us/clinical-services/adults-and-community-services/stop-smoking/

Cllr Steve Bedser, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.

Dr Adrian Phillips, Director of Public Health.

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