The link between smoking and cancer is well known, but experts say many smokers don’t realise there is also a connection with strokes.
On World No Tobacco Day, a confronting ad was launched to show how devastating smoking-induced strokes can be.
It’s meant to make smokers uncomfortable, showing the suffering of a patient and her carer.
“This ad is confronting, but it’s much more confronting to have a stroke,” The Stroke Foundation’s Sharon McGowan said.
Smoking creates blood clots that trigger strokes.
As an active 37-year-old social smoker Bill Gasiamis had three strokes, all with alarming symptoms.
“The nurses asked me what my name was and I didn’t know what my name was,” he told 7 News.
He had to teach himself to walk and talk again and is permanently numb down the left side of his body.
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“Clearly what I’d be doing over the years from the age of 13 to 37 was damaging my blood vessels,” Mr Gasiamis said.
The statistics are damning. If you smoke, you double your chance of having a stroke.
Quit campaign director Sarah White said the latest campaign was personal, having lost her own uncle to a smoking-related stroke last year.
“No-one’s ever had a riot act read to them about smoking like I read it to my uncle, but in the end the addiction is so powerful,” she said.
But they hope this advertisement will “shock and awe” smokers out of their addiction.
“Avoid all the pain and suffering that smoking can cause,” Mr Gasiamis said.