New '16 cancers' smoking campaign to hit hard

Posted 8 Feb 2015.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A powerful new television ad will hit screens around WA from tonight using graphic images to show the shocking effects of smoking-related cancers.

The ‘16 cancers’ campaign highlights the 16 cancers caused by smoking and their capacity to take away life’s simple pleasures such as speaking and eating.

It comes as a new survey  has revealed that less than a quarter of those asked (24%) could name more than two cancers caused by smoking. Among non-smokers, 61% could name one or two smoking related cancers, while only 39% of smokers could do so without being prompted.

Of those surveyed, when prompted, the majority (93%) were aware that smoking caused lung cancer, however fewer than half (47%) were aware that smoking caused cancer in areas of the body other than the lung, mouth, nasal cavity and throat (including larynx and oesophagus).

55 year old Linda Gonzalez started smoking at the age of nine and was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year.

“I think it takes the shock value of ads like these to be a wakeup call for smokers,” she said.

Terry Slevin, Cancer Council WA’s Director of Education and Research, said the survey results show the need for the hard-hitting campaign.

“We know that most people are still not aware of just how many cancers have been shown to be caused by smoking,” Mr Slevin said.

“This campaign is challenging and confronting, but that is simply because the facts about smoking and cancer are challenging and confronting.  Smokers and non- smokers deserve to know those facts.

“The overriding aim continues to be to reduce the number of Western Australians smoking and dying from smoking related diseases.”  

The television campaign will run until March 21 and will air across metropolitan and regional TV, as well as radio, online and outdoor advertising.

Mr Slevin said the TV ads were realistic thanks to the involvement of St John of God Health Care team which for provided valuable medical advice and access to filming.

“Despite the fact that smoking rates are declining, too many West Australians are still dying each day from smoking related diseases,” he said.

About 208,000 Western Australians still smoke and more than 1,500 lose their lives to smoking every year in WA.

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.

To watch the ad, visit

If you want to talk to someone about quitting call the Quit line on 13 78 48. For confidential cancer-related information and support call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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