Zita's Story

18 May, 2014

‘I want them to see how it tears apart a family’ – Zita Roberts

One of Make Smoking History’s most recognised and successful campaigns, ‘Zita’s Story’, has been relaunched.

The original 2006 campaign featured Zita Roberts, a 37 year old mother of three who was terminally ill from lung cancer caused by her smoking. Zita had bravely shared her story on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program, hoping that her story would encourage others to quit and save them from a similar fate.

Zita’s story proved to be so powerful that with the generous permission from Channel 7, Zita and her family, footage was used to develop a state-wide mass media campaign.

The end result was a compelling and emotional campaign that looked at the devastating effects of Zita’s illness not just on herself but on her family, and prompted many Western Australian smokers to quit for good.

Sadly, Zita passed away in 2007. This year her family generously granted the advertisements to be aired once again be used in WA, continuing Zita’s legacy. Zita’s children have bravely added their own personal messages to their mother’s campaign.

Cancer Council Tobacco Programs Manager, Cassandra Clayforth, said “I’m sure many people will remember Zita’s powerful words and now with her children sharing their own experiences, her story continues”.

While the prevalence of smoking is on the decline, about 210,000 Western Australians still smoke and more than 1,500 lose their lives to smoking every year in WA with lung cancer being the leading cause.

Research shows that half of all smokers will die prematurely because of their habit. More than half of those killed by their smoking will still only be middle-aged (35-69), losing an average of 23 years of life.

If you want to talk to someone about quitting call the Quit line on 13 78 48 or for cancer-related support call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

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