Halloween has come early to the streets of London as mask wearers show the frightening effects of smoking by donning rubberized replicas showing the horrors of oral cancer, premature aging of the skin and greying hair as they attempt to get their health message out to smokers. The demonstration was also timed to coincide with the U.K. National Health Services’ “Stoptober” month in which smokers quit tobacco for 28 days. Approximately 160,000 gave up smoking during last year’s campaign and almost 200,000 have pledged to take part this year.
The three masks, which took over two months to create, were designed with the help of a medical team. One mask portrays a medical victim of a tracheotomy that could be the result of cancer of the neck, throat or head or of several pneumonia brought on by excessive smoking. Another mask shows an enlarged tumor due to throat cancer that has invaded the tissues and is growing outward. The third mask of a female smoker shows damage to her lips, due to oral cancer, and visible damage to her teeth and gums from use of tobacco products. Excessive wrinkles and crows feet around her eyes are due to the irritation from smoke and loss of collagen due to smoking. The masks will be worn by actors as they move throughout cities handing out information to smokers hopefully persuading them to give up the habit.
Halloween masks can be scary, but the real life dangers of cigarette smoking can be even more frightening. At the end of the day, smokers can’t remove their health problems caused by cigarettes. Hopefully the U.K. campaign will help smokers quit before its too late.
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