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Could your cigarette be illegal?

The South West is above the national average for illegal cigarettes

Over a quarter of all cigarettes smoked in the South West are either illegal or purchased outside of the UK, a survey has found.

More than 12,000 packs from streets and bins across the country were tested.

The results show that our region is above the national average.

Cheap illegal cigarettes are often sold on street corners. Criminal gangs are known to routinely target children.


Loved ones are the true victims of a smoking habit

Who are the real sufferers from smoking? Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Latest research conducted by Smokefree South West shows:

29% of people had stopped encouraging loved ones to quit because they were scared of starting an argument.

84% of parents said they encourage their child to stop as they don't like to see them harm themselves

67% of people, whose parents smoke, try to encourage them to stop because they're scared of losing them early.

Lung disease sufferer inspires 'Smokefree South West' campaign

Kisrty Vaas from Torquay was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) just over a year a go after one of her lungs collapsed.

She is now constantly short of breath, unable to travel and is supported by her younger daughter.

Kirsty knows this is a result of her smoking habit, but she wants others to learn from her mistakes.

Kirsty now finds it difficult to leave the hosue Credit: ITV News

My smoking illness has caused my whole world to come crashing down. If young people see you smoking then they think it's alright, but they don't understand what it can do to you, so making smoking less visible in public places can only be a good thing.

– Kirtsy Vass

Kirsty has thrown her support behind 'Smokefree South West' which have succeeded in making parts of Bristol smoke free from today.

At the opening there will be a 'take a straw challenge' where people try and breathe through a straw to simulate what it feels like to have a collapsed lung.

It's the same technique Kirsty used to explain her condition to her daughter.

Lung disease sufferer begs people to stop smoking

Smoking has left Kirsty Vass with chronic lung disease Credit: ITV News

A mother from Torquay has made an impassioned plea for people to stop smoking.

A new campaign by Smoke-free South West is calling on people to consider the impact on their relatives. 33-year-old Kirsty Vass has been diagnosed with a chronic lung disease and emphysema as a result of smoking.

Please give up smoking, because it really is not worth it. Don't end up being like this, it is a prison sentence. Get out there, enjoy it with your family, with your children.

– Kirsty Vass

Obese and smokers to be denied surgery in Devon

People who are morbidly obese will be denied surgery in Devon Credit: PA

Smokers and morbidly obese people in Devon will be denied routine surgery unless they quit smoking or lose weight.

Patients with a BMI of 35 or above will have to shed 5% of their weight - while smokers will have to quit eight weeks before surgery.

The NHS in Devon says the cuts are needed to help meet waiting list targets.

Smokers will have to give up before they are allowed surgery Credit: PA


Devon smoker quits after 50 years

Ann Veit finally managed to quit thanks to a stop smoking clinic at Axminster Medical Practice Credit: Northern Devon Healthcare Trust


By Claire Hayhurst, Press Association

A pensioner has finally kicked her 50-year-long smoking habit - after lighting up 750,000 cigarettes.

Ann Veit, 68, from Musbury, near Axminster in Devon, smoked around 40 cigarettes each day from the age of 15.

She attempted to quit smoking three times over the 50-year-period, trying hypnosis, acupuncture and patches.

However, the retired information systems manager eventually managed to give up in March, after attending a weekly NHS stop smoking clinic. She is being supported to quit with the use of patches and an inhaler.

Mrs Veit, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has already seen significant improvement in the function of her lungs.

Carbon monoxide levels in her blood reduced from 26 parts per million (ppm) to just three in one week - the same levels as a non-smoker.

After a serious bout of pneumonia, which left me in hospital, I realised I must stop or I wouldn't last long.

Breathing is easier, I've got more energy, my self-esteem has improved and I no longer feel like a pariah.

I can also see the financial benefits - I've got more money in my purse at the end of the week.

It is hard, but never quit quitting. If I can do it after 50-odd years, there is hope for everyone.

– Ann Veit, Former smoker

The clinics are run at Axminster Medical Practice every Friday, along with three sessions a week in Honiton, Devon.

Plans to stamp out illegal tobacco in South West

Campaign to stop sale of illegal tobacco in South West Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A new campaign gets underway today to stamp out the sale of illegal tobacco in the region

This comes after new figures show 8 out of 10 people in the South West think the product-often smuggled in and unregulated- is a danger to children.

As it is cheaper than normal tobacco, it's also believed to make it easier for children to start smoking.

Most people unaware that half of smokers will die early

Now do you think smoking in cars should be banned if there are children in the vehicle? Last night MPs voted to back the proposal - although it could be some time before it becomes law.

The proposed legislation comes as Smokefree South West reveals almost 90% of people they spoke to were not aware half of smokers will die early.

Katie Rowlett has the story.

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