A TOTAL of 2,665 people in Somerset died due to smoking related illness between 2014 and 2016, according to the latest figures from Public Health England.

The statistics, which also show 25,244 smoking related deaths across the South West over the same period, come as PHE releases a TV advert shows how poisons from tar in cigarettes enter the bloodstream and spread around the body in seconds, damaging major organs.

With patients admitted to hospitals across the region with smoking related illness every ten seconds, smokers are being urged to kick the habit with help from Smokefree in 2018.

Tests show that more than 4,000 chemicals are released into the body with each cigarette smoked, with more than 70 of them cancer causing compounds and increasing the risk of damage to the kidneys, bones, heart and other organs.

Somerset County Gazette:

South West GP Dawn Harper says giving up will improve the quality of smokers' blood and rid them of harmful poisons that cause damage to their bodies.

She said: "I see the damaging effects of smoking in my surgery almost every day.

"Tar from cigarettes causes damage to major organs, the bones and increases your risk of a range of cancers and diseases.

"But the good news is that no matter how long you've smoked, quitting can reduce your chances of developing cancer, heart and lung disease and other serious smoking-related illnesses.

"Some of the benefits are almost immediate, with improved energy and breathing within a matter of days.

"I know how difficult it is to stop, but the important thing is to commit to trying again, no matter how many times you might have tried and failed in the past. It's never too late."

Somerset man Mark, who smoked from the age of 12, quit two years ago aged 56 with free help from Smokefree.

He said: "If you want to experience life for what it is, don't smoke.

"It robs you of so much - the fact that when you're with others and they can smell it, it puts people off you, reduces your capacity to live a healthy life and causes lots of long-term breathing problems.

"I can look back now and say thank goodness I don't wake up in the morning smelling like an ash tray."