Hundreds of students at Somerset College of Arts and Technology in Taunton, Somerset, gathered to ‘get close’ to symbolising the number of people who die from smoking-related diseases in the County.
The actual number of deaths caused by smoking in Somerset in 2008 was 820.
To point out just how stark this fact is, smaller groups were created to represent deaths on the road and work-related accidents.
Working closely with NHS Stop Smoking advisers and The Smokefree Somerset Alliance, the photo was organised by Jon Peters, Health and Safety Officer with the college. Jon said: ‘The college takes the health and well being of all its students seriously. We hope this photo event will encourage those students who might smoke or be tempted to take up the habit, to think about the risks and encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles.’
David Stapleton, Chairman of The Smokefree Somerset Alliance said: ‘We have created a powerful image so people can get a sense of the number of deaths from this killer habit to help save lives in the future. Every one of these deaths has been a terrible tragedy for a family in Somerset. The death toll figures are surprising because we do not normally see or hear media reports on smoking deaths compared to deaths on the road, which although equally devasting, are fewer than deaths from smoking.’
Click here to watch the event on YouTube.
EIGHT REASONS TO NOT SMOKE
The cost of smoking is not only death and serious ill-health but the habit also plays havoc with your sex appeal and pocket.
1. SKIN: Smoking ages and dulls your skin by 10 years, giving you wrinkles. It could also treble your chances of developing psoriasis, a chronic skin condition.
2 YOUR WAIST: Smoking makes you store weight around your waist, and nobody finds a 'muffin top' attractive. It also increases your risk of cellulite.
3 YOUR TEETH: The nicotine ends up staining your teeth yellow and puts you in line for gum disease and tooth loss. So you've really nothing to smile about.
4 YOUR HAIR: Smoking starves your hair of oxygen, making it lifeless and brittle.
5 YOUR SMELL: You smell and smoking leaves a stink on your breath, hair and clothes which is really hard to get rid of.
6 SEX: All of the above plus smoking can create hormonal imbalances which decrease libido - so giving up smoking could improve your sex life!
7 YOUR PURSE: Giving up 20-a-day is like a £42 a week pay rise! In six months you could save around £1092 - just imagine the upgraded flight, accommodation or additions to your holiday wardrobe with that extra cash.
8 If you continue to smoke 20 a day for the three years you are at college you will have spent over £6,500 on cigarettes.
If smokers in Somerset want advice and support to quit they should contact the Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service on:
Telephone – 0303 033 9840
Text – MYQUIT to 80010
Or visit the website www.somersetstopsmoking.nhs.uk or call the NHS Free Smoking
Helpline on 0800 022 4332 or visit the website www.smokefree.nhs.uk