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Cancer Survivors Campaign for the UK Government to Take Further Action Against Cigarettes

By Emily Malia 20th November 2023 4 Mins


Is enough being done to tackle the impact that smoking has on the UK’s public health? Two women are campaigning on behalf of all those suffering at the hands of cigarettes.

The clock is ticking… and time is running out as we reach four years since the government committed to making England ‘smokefree’ by 2030.

Despite tobacco being the biggest cause of cancer in the UK, half of adults in the Northeast don’t think enough is being done to help kick the bad habit.

Representatives from the area – including cancer survivors Sue Mountain and Cathy Hunt – attended the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health to mark the importance of four years passing. 

From starring in ‘Smoking Survivors’ and TV advertisements to campaigning in Westminster, these two women are overcoming obstacles and winning battles to secure a future without cigarettes. 

Sue Mountain, who began smoking as a child and has been diagnosed with smoking-related cancer three times since 2012, has been pleading with the Government to take further action. 

She said:

“You lie to yourself and say you love smoking, but you need the cigarette – that’s the addiction. Over the years I think I probably spent over £100,000 on cigarettes. 

“I could have bought half a house with that or seen the world instead of getting cancer.

” It’s evident that action on smoking isn’t just needed, but necessary, and as the pressure on our NHS, economy and local communities amplify, these women, alongside organisations like Fresh and ASH, continue to campaign. 


Passionate about the cause, Sue explained further:

“Tobacco has killed nearly eight million people in the UK in the last 50 years.

“Why do we tolerate this? Why aren’t we doing more to stop people dying? It’s time tobacco companies were made to pay for more support for smokers and awareness campaigns encouraging people to stop.” 

The combination of information provided by the ASH Smokefree GB survey and Fresh with its intent to ‘make smoking history’ proves that knowledge is power, and that this power can be taken to parliament. 

The survey revealed that for Northeast adults, 79 percent support a levy or fee on tobacco companies, along with 69 percent supporting the idea of raising the age of sale to 21. 

These are numbers that simply cannot be ignored, and so these brave women are supporting calls for greater investment in public education campaigns and a levy on tobacco companies. 

Conservative Party Councillor, mother of two and cancer survivor Cathy Hunt, said:

“Too many people are becoming ill and dying from smoking. 

“Tobacco companies lied to people about low tars, and they lured more women into smoking through glossy marketing and slims, which has resulted in more lung cancer and COPD. 

“And people like me, who might have quit are instead getting cancer. 

They wanted us to keep smoking and those diseases are still being seen in our hospital wards today.” 

The deadly cigarette use has nearly halved since 2005 in the Northeast, but that is solely down to the efforts of its local authorities trying to push for a bigger chance.

Decade after decade, the NHS have been treating smoking-related diseases, but it’s time that we support smokers in quitting, and prevent people from picking up the habit in the first place.

We can only hope that by sharing their stories and championing the advocacy work, that the government will wake up and take action in achieving a smokefree future for the next generation.

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Emily Malia