Quit Smoking or Face Surgery

Quit Victoria last night launched a television advertisement with a graphic warning about the links between smoking and strokes. The TV ad, released on World No Tobacco Day, has been given an M rating, making it the first quit smoking message televised in Australia that cannot be shown at specific times due to its confronting nature. The ad picks something of the tone of the Skin Cancer melanoma operation from November 2006.

Carotid Operation in Quit Smoking TV Ad from Australia

Click on the image below to play the QUIT Victoria Carotid Surgery video.

Surgical Background

Mr Mark Westcott, a Vascular surgeon at St. Vincent’s who features in the advertisement, said the surgical procedure featured in the campaign is a carotid endarterectomy, which is undertaken to reduce the risk of stroke.

“Someone would need to have this type of surgery if they have been found to have a narrowing or blockage in the artery in their neck. The operation clears out blockages from the artery in the neck that might otherwise break off and lodge in the brain. Over 70% of patients who have had this operation at St.Vincent’s Hospital in the five years between 2002 and 2006 were current or former smokers – and in the past two years all of the patients under 50 years of age were smokers. Smoking doubles the risk of most arterial disease and causes patients to present earlier in life, sometimes decades earlier. Smoking also trebles the risk of complications following vascular surgery.”

Mr Westcott said that a patient quitting smoking might mean that surgery is no longer required and reduces the risk of stroke, amputation and aneurysm rupture.

Carotid Surgery in Quit Smoking TV Ad from Australia

Public Funded Quit Campaign

Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Maxine Morand, said the stroke campaign is funded through the Bracks Government’s $1.87 million dollar contribution to Quit Victoria this year to develop a range of social marketing campaigns to increase community awareness of the dangers associated with tobacco use.

“The Quit campaign provides a very effective and strong message about the link between smoking and stroke,” Ms Morand said. “Awareness of the link between smoking and stroke gives smokers another reason to think twice about lighting up and hopefully leads them to quit smoking.”

Ms Morand said the launch on World No Tobacco Day is particularly relevant with its theme of smokefree environments, given pubs and clubs in Victoria are to go smokefree in a month.

The concept for the media campaign was tested with smokers of all ages and from different backgrounds. These group discussions indicated that participants had only limited knowledge about stroke, especially in terms of the cause and development, and especially amongst the younger smokers.

Research shows that mass media campaigns are one of the most effective means to reduce smoking at a population level, especially when they offer smokers services and resources to help them quit.

via Quit Victoria Press Release

Quit is a joint initiative of The Cancer Council Victoria, VicHealth, Department of Human Services and the National Heart Foundation.