Two Sheffield men are the face of the new campaign from Smokefree Sheffield that aims to highlight some of the harmful effects of smoking that are less well known.
Smokefree Sheffield, a three-year initiative, aims to reduce prevalence of smoking across the city, with smokers, non-smokers and quitters working together towards a smokefree future.
Retired Paul Smith, from Netherthorpe, and security worker Mohammed Akram, who lives in Fir Vale, feature in the campaign aimed at routine and manual workers, who represent one of the highest prevalence rates in the city.
Both men were longtime tobacco users before quitting with the support of Yorkshire Smokefree Sheffield – with Paul smoking from the age of nine.
They are hoping to convince others to join them in quitting with messaging that focuses on some of the less recognised health impacts of smoking, such as gum disease, depleted energy due to a lack of oxygen, and the effects on senses like taste and smell.
Paul said: “Cancer and lung disease are often mentioned when we talk about smoking, but I think it is important know that smoking can affect you in more ways than you think.
“Not long ago I was smoking 20 cigars a day and I never thought about the impact on my gums or my teeth until the damage was done. Suddenly, I hated looking in the mirror every morning.
“Quitting back in October also brought back my sense of smell and taste, so there were plenty of incentives for me to stop.”
Mohammed said: “Smoking left my teeth yellow, and gums black. It also left me feeling tired, drained and lethargic.
“Since quitting, I have a lot more strength and energy, which was such an important reason for me to try to get smokefree.”
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “Through Smokefree Sheffield and local stop smoking services, we are helping as many people as possible to quit for good.
“This new campaign was tested with the target audience to understand their barriers to quitting, and revealed that focusing on lesser known conditions like those affecting Paul and Mohammed would motivate other smokers to get support like they did.”
Cllr Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, said: “Smokefree Sheffield is helping to raise awareness of all the reasons to stop smoking and all the places that can offer advice and practical assistance.
“There are many services across Sheffield that can help you try to quit, regardless of when you started or how often you smoke now.”