Every year around 375 people in Wakefield discover they have cancer caused by smoking.
The district has the third highest proportion of adult smokers in Yorkshire and the Humber.
And while most of them know about the link between the habit and cancer of the lungs, many people do not realise that smoking is actually linked to 16 different types of the disease.
Dr Louise Merriman, the GP cancer lead at the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Clinical Network said: “Most people are aware that smoking can cause lung cancer, but there is a huge lack of general awareness about the true health harms of smoking. People who smoke are at an increased risk of a range of cancers and you’re also more likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, and develop different health conditions including coronary heart disease.”
A hard-hitting campaign is hoping to change people’s perceptions.
Quit16, supported by Cancer Research UK, is raising awareness of the different cancers smoking can cause, including mouth, stomach, kidney, bowel and ovarian cancer. And it is encouraging smokers to quit and cut their risks of developing the disease.
The campaign, which runs throughout February, is being rolled out through videos both online and on the television.
And it is being supported by health bosses across the region.
Dr Andrew Furber, director of public health at Wakefield Council, said: “The films and message are brutally honest: there are 16 cancers caused by smoking. Some will kill you quickly, others more slowly and it’s you and your family that have to live through it. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do to reduce the risk that one of those deaths will be you.
“Quitting isn’t easy but there is lots of help out there from face to face support to personalised texts, emails and apps.”
Coun Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for adults and health at Wakefield Council added: “We want to make sure the next generation of children born and brought up in Wakefield district, never start smoking and grow up free of the terrible health harms associated with tobacco.”
To get support to quit, visit Quit16.co.uk