Hard-hitting new TV adverts show the devastating effects of smoking.

Two ex-smokers are seen appealing to the public to quit the habit in a graphic new campaign supported by Cancer Research UK.

Maggie Bratton, from Newcastle, was diagnosed with mouth cancer at just 45, which led to her undergoing a grueling operation to remove her palate.

The mother-of-two is now forced to wear a piece of plastic in the roof of her mouth every day just to be able to eat and speak, the Daily Mail reports.

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Father Tony Osborne, who was diagnosed with cancer of the voicebox on his 52nd birthday, also features.

Mr Obsorne, from South Bank, Middlesbrough, had to relearn how to speak and even breathe through a hole in his chest and an artificial voicebox after surgeons removed the inside of his neck.

He now even has to be supervised in the shower in case water enters his lungs via the hole in his chest and drowns him.

The campaign was put together by Fresh - the UK's first dedicated regional tobacco control programme, which is based in the North East.

Fresh's director, Ailsa Rutter OBE, said: "Tony and Maggie are two incredibly brave people who want their experiences of smoking to be heard.

Maggie Bratton's life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with mouth cancer at just 45. She had to have surgery to remove her palate.
Maggie Bratton's life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with mouth cancer at just 45. She had to have surgery to remove her palate.

"They don't want other people to have to go through the pain and the life-limiting surgery they went through at a relatively young age.

"Tony and Maggie's stories do not make comfortable viewing, but campaigns are one of the most powerful ways to encourage people to stop and young people not to start in the first place.

"In all our research with smokers, we know that hard hitting campaigns like this are extremely impactful to trigger quit attempts."

Smoking is responsible for 14.7 per cent of new cancer cases - 44,100 - and 27 per cent of all cancer deaths - 36,600 - in England every year.

Overall the habit causes 77,900 deaths annually in England from cancer and other diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and stroke.

"Although most smokers have heard of lung cancer, smoking causes 16 types of cancer, as well as heart disease, COPD, stroke, dementia and diabetes,' Ms Rutter said.

"Every clinician, GP and nurse is in a unique position to help stop more people like Maggie and Tony being diagnosed in the future."

Mr Osbourne's surgeon Mr Shane Lester, from The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, said: "A smoker's risk of having laryngeal cancer is much higher than if you had never smoked at all.

"If you haven't got cancer then stopping smoking can help prevent you getting cancer.

"For cancer patients, the chances of successful treatment are much better with stopping smoking."

He adds head and neck cancers can have a big impact on a sufferer's appearance by changing how their face moves.

The disease can also alter how they eat or speak.

"Even patients who get through everything and are out of surveillance still have to live with those side effects," Mr Lester added.

"Sometimes people blame themselves, but lots of people who smoke started when they were kids, when the risks of smoking weren't known and they got addicted.

"It's far more healthy to look forward, to get help to stop smoking, and look forward to the health benefits of that."

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's prevention expert, said: 'Campaigns like these play a key role in reminding smokers why it is important to quit sooner rather than later.

Tony Osborne is forced to breathe through a hole in his chest and speak via an artificial voice box after battling throat cancer. He was diagnosed on his 52nd birthday.
Tony Osborne is forced to breathe through a hole in his chest and speak via an artificial voice box after battling throat cancer. He was diagnosed on his 52nd birthday.

"Smoking is still the single biggest avoidable cause of cancer in the world.

"It causes over a quarter of cancer deaths in the UK and three in 20 cancer cases.

"There are more than 70 chemicals in tobacco smoke that have been found to cause cancer, and whether you smoke cigarettes or roll ups, the risks are the same.

"Stopping smoking can greatly reduce the risk of smoking-related cancers, compared to continuing to smoke and the earlier you stop the better."

Professor Bauld urges smokers to get help with quitting via the medication and support available from free local stop smoking services.

E-cigarettes could be another option, she added.

Dr Tony Branson, clinical lead for the Northern Cancer Alliance, said: 'Every cigarette pumps harmful chemicals into the lungs, and around the body.

"Many of these are known to damage DNA, stick to cells, harm cell repair and cause cancer.

A former smoker is forced to breathe through a hole in his chest and speak via an artificial voice box after battling throat cancer. / FreshSNFE

"Although treatment for many cancers has improved enormously, many patients find it hard to speak clearly, swallow, eat or function normally again.

"Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and it is crucial to stop for good as soon as possible."

Data suggests national smoking rates could fall by a third by 2023, which would mean only around one in 10 adults smoke.

Besides lung cancer, the habit also causes cancers of the:

- Mouth
- Nasal cavities
- Pharynx and larynx
- Stomach
- Kidney
- Bowel
- Liver
- Pancreas
- Cervix
- Bladder
- Ovaries
- Oesophagus
- Ureter

Smoking can also lead to myeloid leukaemia, which affects the blood and bone marrow, and has been linked to breast cancer.