Britain Begins 2000 Without Smoking

A record number of smokers mark millennium by stamping out smoking

It’s a new century, it’s a new millennium and it’s an opportunity to make a life change. For more than 1.5 million smokers in Great Britain that means putting the cigarette habit behind them and entering the 21st century without smoking.

A government-backed advertising campaign to stamp out smoking, seems to be working. The campaign is billed as "the biggest ever tobacco education campaign run in England" and includes television advertising, posters and phone lines. The campaign slogan is "Don’t Give Up Giving Up."

The campaign seems to be effective with an estimated 1.5 million people kicking the habit since January 1, 2000. In fact, support phone lines are seeing a 250% increase in calls from all around Britain. That translates to 36,000 callers just since the New Year began. Another sign of their success nicotine patches are selling fast and furious throughout London.

"There has definitely been a millennium effect," said Clive Bates, director of the anti-smoking organization Action on Smoking and Health. "Giving up smoking is a significant time in people's lives because it is the best thing you can do for your health and your wallet.

The Government has pledged to reduce the proportion of people who smoke from 28% in 1996 to 26% by 2005 and to 24% by 2010.

In Britain Health officials say smoking causes 46,000 cancer deaths and 40,000 heart disease deaths a year.

Source: Press Association Newswire

DATE: 1/11/2000

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