Devon Councillor warns of hidden risks of smoking in new campaign launch
Posted on: 16 November 2012
Cllr Philip Sanders, 65, from Tavistock in Devon, said his father had been a life long smoker and after being diagnosed with COPD his last five or six years were uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Cllr Sanders is now supporting a new campaign launched this week called ‘Take a breath’ that highlights the dangers of COPD which accounts for more deaths every year in the UK than breast, prostate or bowel cancer.
The launch coincides with World COPD Day on Wednesday, 14 November.
COPD is the name used to describe a number of lung conditions that are mainly caused by smoking, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with COPD have trouble breathing in and out.
In Devon it is estimated that over 20,000 people have COPD but almost 8,000 of them don’t even realise they have it.
The disease is the second most common cause of emergency admission to hospitals and one of the most costly inpatient conditions treated, costing the NHS almost £600m nationally every year.
Cllr Sanders said his father had never been ill in his life but had smoked for as long as he could remember.
“When he was in his early 50s he got his first dose of bronchitis and shrugged it off,” he said. “A year later he had a series of episodes of bronchitis and was diagnosed with emphysema, which is one of the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
“His COPD reached the point where actually he wasn’t able to smoke any more, literally having insufficient lung capacity to manage to inhale on a cigarette. That was the time he finally stopped smoking.
“Ultimately he did less and less and eventually did finish up the last few years of his life moving between his bed and an armchair in the bungalow with an oxygen cylinder next to him and two tubes sticking out of his nostrils, allowing him to breathe.
“I’d say the last five or six years of his life were extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant for him. Sadly it affected my mother’s quality of life as well because they’d been hoping to travel once they retired, but this was now out of the question. It was really sad to see a man who was so proud and who had been so fit and strong reach the end in that way.”
Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health for the NHS in Devon, said:
“Stopping smoking is the single best lifestyle change you can make to improve your health.
“Once you give up smoking, you gradually reduce your chances of getting COPD – and you slow down its progress if you already have it.”
The ‘Take a breath’ campaign will feature on both TV and radio across the region from Monday 19 November for six weeks, and it will also be accompanied by the campaign’s website, offering further information and support to stop smoking: www.takeabreathandquit.co.uk
People who are from Devon can find their nearest NHS stop smoking service by emailing email@example.com or calling 01884 836 024.Posted in: Health and Wellbeing