Head and neck cancers the focus of tobacco-free week
Published Sunday, January 17, 2016 3:47PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 17, 2016 6:38PM EST
Tobacco-related cancers of the head and neck are in the spotlight this year as Quebec marks tobacco-free week.
A television and social media campaign featuring people and families struggling with cancer end with a heavy tag line: "Smoking, suffering, dying."
“The situation of smoking is dramatic and that's why we decided to have a dramatic approach this year. It may shock some people but that's the reality for many smokers,” said Mario Bujold, director of the Quebec Council on Tobacco.
Dr. Alex Mlynarek added that it’s important to focus on cancers of the head and neck.
“A lot of people don't realize that smoking does cause other cancers that will not necessarily kill them but really change their life,” said Mlynarek.
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As much as 70 to 80 per cent of all head and neck cancers are caused by smoking.
“Basic functions such as speech, swallowing, smell, are all in this area. And all surgeries and radiation and chemotherapies that we can do to try and save these patients have secondary effects which affect these basic functions,” he said.
These secondary effects that can make socializing and working difficult.
If the fear of cancer isn't enough, Quebec introduced new legislation in November that gets tough on tobacco.
Bill 44 makes it harder for people to smoke in public places, even with an e-cigarette.
There are 1.4 million smokers in Quebec, a number the campaign is hoping to dramatically reduce.
One of the ads features a man speaking about how throat cancer has affected him.