Quit Smoking Or Face Foot Amputation

A confronting new quit smoking advertisement called ‘Amputation,’ detailing the relationship between smoking and gangrene, hits Australian television screens nationally tonight. The disturbing television advertisment is set in Ryde Hospital, Sydney, and features a man about to have his swollen infected foot surgically removed. A pen has been used to mark the point of incision just below the knee. The nurse checks the surgical equipment, including a bone saw.

Surgeon speaks in Quit Smoking Amputation TV Ad

The surgeon turns to the camera and says, “Every time you inhale tobacco smoke, toxic chemicals go into your bloodstream and travel to every part of your body. That’s why this smoker has gangrene. I want you to think of what’s happening here every time you look at your cigarette pack… every time. Click on the image below to play the video.

Leg marked for amputation in Quit Smoking TV Ad

The ‘Amputation’ advertisement is part of a new national quit smoking campaign that has been developed in collaboration between state and territory smoking and health programs. The advertisement focuses on the amputation of a gangrenous foot caused by peripheral vascular disease (PVD), following shocking new data from The Cancer Council Victoria revealing almost 3 out of 4 of smokers do not believe smoking causes gangrene, a serious side effect of PVD. PVD occurs when the arteries that carry blood to your legs or arms become partially or totally blocked by the build up of fatty material on your artery walls, and more than 15 Victorians are diagnosed with PVD every week. Smoking causes 40% of PVD in men and 34% of PVD in women in Australia and smokers are two and a half times more likely to develop PVD than someone who has never smoked.


The Quit campaign was developed at The Campaign Palace/Red Cell.

Filming was shot by director Steve Pasvolsky via Filmgraphics.

Sound was designed and music was composed by Alex Gomez and Barry Stewart at Sound Reservoir.

All people in the clip are actors, although staff at Ryde Hospital provided support.

Smoking warning poster

Quit features anti-smoking television advertisments on its site, all the way back to black and white spots from 1971.

Executive Director of Quit, Mr Todd Harper, said although smoking causes many diseases other than lung cancer, the data illustrates that many smokers are still in the dark when it comes to the health risks of smoking.

“While people are generally aware that tobacco smoking is harmful, many still underestimate the extent of the danger relative to other lifestyle risks. When you smoke toxic chemicals go into your bloodstream and travel to every part of your body so there is really no area that is immune from damage caused by smoking.”

Mr Harper said that graphic health warnings on tobacco products are essential to ensure smokers receive regular information on the harms of smoking, and that the tobacco industry so far seemed to be deliberately stalling their introduction.

“The tobacco industry has been unforgivably slow to introduce new warnings. Every single day they continue to delay the new warnings, they are jeopardising the health of any smoker who may have been inspired to quit after seeing the graphic images including the image highlighting PVD.”

Mr Mark Westcott, a Vascular Surgeon at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne said smoking is the number one risk factor for PVD, and over 80% of people with PVD affecting the lower limbs are either smokers or ex-smokers.

“People who smoke are likely to worsen their symptoms of PVD, and as a result increase their risk of amputation. Compared to smokers, people who quit smoking have less severe pain when walking and are less likely to develop pain at rest. They live longer, respond better to treatment, and are less likely to require amputation. Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of developing PVD and the longer you have quit, the lower your risk of developing symptoms of PVD.”

Mr Westcott said other risk factors for PVD include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels, and noted that if you have more than one of these risk factors, your risk of PVD increases.