22 March 2018

Two Sheffield men are the face of a new campaign that aims to highlight even more reasons to quit smoking.

Despite it being well known that smoking can cause cancer and heart disease, this still does not convince everyone to quit. That is why Paul and Mohammad are hoping to persuade others to join them in quitting by focusing on some of the other health impacts of smoking, such as gum disease and yellow teeth, low energy due to a lack of oxygen, and the effects on senses like taste and smell.

The campaign is being launched by Smokefree Sheffield, which has been developed to tackle smoking in our communities, bringing together people with a shared goal of reducing the numbers of smokers in the city.

A range of partners including Sheffield City Council, hospitals and local quitting services are working together to achieve a smokefree generation by 2025 and improve the health of the local population.

Retired Paul Smith, from Netherthorpe, and security worker Mohammad Akram, who lives in Fir Vale, feature in the campaign aimed at routine and manual workers, who represent one of the largest groups of smokers in the city.

Both men were longtime tobacco users until recently before quitting with the support of Yorkshire Smokefree Sheffield – with Paul having smoked for over 60 years.
Paul said: “Cancer, heart 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 and seeing the state of my teeth and receding gums.

“Quitting back in October also brought back my sense of smell and taste, meaning I could enjoy my food again, so there were plenty of incentives for me to stop.”

Mohammad 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, and with 4 kids to keep up with, it was such an important reason for me to get smokefree.”

Mohammad Akram from Fir Vale, Sheffield
Mohammad Akram from Fir Vale, Sheffield

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 focuses on some of the other reasons to quit that can have a real impact on people’s lives. When we talked to local people, they told us that highlighting the effects of smoking that affect their appearance, such as gum disease, would motivate them to get support, just like Paul and Mohammad.”

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 local services that can offer advice and practical support.

“You’re four times more likely to quit with the support of a stop smoking service and using stop smoking medication. Regardless of when you started or how often you smoke now, there are many services across Sheffield that can help you on your smokefree journey.”

Smokefree Sheffield recently announced its support for Yorkshire Cancer Research and Breathe 2025’s position on e-cigarettes. They advise smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking to completely switch to vaping, following research from Public Health England that shows e-cigarettes are a significantly safer alternative to smoking tobacco.

For more information, visit www.smokefreesheffield.org or contact Yorkshire Smokefree Sheffield on 0330 660 116 (free from most mobiles).