New campaign highlights how cigarettes 'rot' the body from the inside

Public health officials in England launched a new campaign to highlight how smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process similar to rotting.

The new campaign by Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom, focuses on how smoking cigarettes can harm not only the lungs and heart, but also bones and muscles, brain, teeth and eyes.

According to, the ADA's consumer website, possible impacts of smoking and all tobacco products include oral cancer, gum disease, bad breath, stained teeth and tongue, slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery, and a dulled sense of taste and smell.

The PHE campaign highlights that smoking negatively impacts bone density, increasing the risk of any fracture by 25 percent; increases the likelihood of developing cognitive impairment by 53 percent; and increases risk of age-related eye damage.

Public Health England’s campaign includes digital and print billboards featuring a roll-up cigarette full of decaying tissue. An online video also showcases a father casually rolling up a cigarette “formed of rotting human flesh, all bringing to life the fact that: ‘every cigarette rots you from the inside out,’” according to a news release.

To learn more about Public Health England’s anti-smoking campaign, visit For more information on how smoking impacts your oral health, visit and search “smoking and tobacco.”

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tobacco's greatest threat to your health may be its association with oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:

  • About 90 percent of people with mouth cancer and some types of throat cancer have used tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers increases as people smoke or chew more often or for a longer time.

  • Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers.

  • About 37 percent of patients who continue to smoke after cancer treatment will develop second cancers of the mouth, throat or larynx. While only 6 percent of people who quit smoking will develop these secondary cancers.

  • Smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.7