A NEW film has been released by Public Health England (PHE) showing the harmful effects of smoking and how these can be avoided by switching to an e-cigarette or another type of quit aid.

The film has been released as part of the organisation’s Health Harms campaign, which is encouraging smokers in Dorset, and elsewhere in the South West, to give up the habit in the New Year.

There were more than 3,740 smoking-related deaths recorded in the Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole local authority areas in a year, according to the most recent data.

And there were nearly 8,600 smoking-related hospital admissions in a year.

Public Health England’s film features smoking expert Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard carrying out an experiment to visually demonstrate the high levels of cancer-causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month, compared to not smoking or using an e-cigarette. The results of the experiment visually illustrate the stark contrast between the impacts of smoking and vaping. Research estimates that while not risk-free, vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.

Around 2.5 million adults are using e-cigarettes in England and they have helped thousands of people successfully quit, according to PHE – but many smokers (44 per cent) still either wrongly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or do not know that vaping poses much lower risks to health.

Dr Steve Holmes, a general practitioner in Somerset and medical advisor to the British Lung Foundation, said: “It is great news that so many people are quitting smoking successfully in the South West. Most people have tried several times before they succeed.

“I would encourage everyone thinking of quitting to get professional help as we know this is much more successful than other methods. Every health care professional should be aware of their local services and it is never too late to quit – indeed we know the benefits of quitting can start soon after someone stops smoking.”

Russ Moody, of PHE South West, said: “While vaping is not risk-free it is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking and can provide a useful aid for those who are trying to quit smoking.”

“It is important for smokers to understand this because tobacco continues to be one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths, increasing the risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions, including cancer and heart disease - and doubles the risk of dying from a stroke.”

Search ‘Smokefree’ to find the best way to quit smoking for you this New Year.