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To mark the 1st July introduction of the UK public smoking ban the ‘HELP – for a life without Tobacco’ campaign organised the public execution of a cigarette opposite the Tower of London.

The spot was chosen because the Tower of London is the location where historically ‘enemies of the state’ met their grisly end and many believe that cigarettes certainly fit into that category now because of their negative effects on health.

Passer-by’s and tourists cheered as the cigarette got the chop from an actor dressed as traditional English executioner. In addition to the ‘execution’, representatives from HELP ( and QUIT ( were on hand to provide the public with help and advice on how to give up smoking as well as offering free carbon monoxide tests and handing out a variety of HELP promotional items including t-shirts, key rings, bags, frisbees, pens and lanyards.

The English smoking ban comes into effect on Sunday 1st July when virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will become smoke free and follows similar bans already introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is expected that the new smoke free law will save thousands of lives over the next decade by reducing the amount of second-hand smoke in enclosed public places and workplaces and will provide a more supportive environment for those who want to quit.

Commenting on the ‘execution’ a HELP campaign representative said, “Although this event was light-hearted and fun it had a very serious message behind it. Smoking related illnesses still kill around 650,000 Europeans every year and cost national health services billions to deal with. While smoking bans are a good start there is still a long way to go to build a healthier more prosperous future for European citizens.”

The HELP campaign is an initiative of the European Commission in all 27-member states of the European Union. The carbon monoxide tests are carried out at public events to show people the effects of smoking and passive smoking. In 2006, over 75,000 Europeans took the test at one of over 250 events where the HELP stand was present. In 2007, the campaign will be present at even more places and events.

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Pictures enclosed :

Cigarette getting the chop from traditional English executioner opposite the Tower of London to mark introduction of English smoking ban on 1st July

For further press information please contact:
Niall Dologhan or Naomi van Moppes on 020 8789 2587 or at

About HELP:

“HELP” is the second major EU-wide anti-smoking campaign run by the European Commission. The European Commission earmarked €72 million for the campaign between 2005 and 2008. Adolescents (15 to 18 year olds) and young adults (18 to 30 years olds) are the main target groups.

At the outset of the campaign Markos Kyprianou, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: “The sickness and death caused by smoking costs EU countries €100 billion a year. Prevention and information campaigns like “HELP” are an investment in a healthier and more prosperous future for our citizens. As well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles to young people, the campaign also highlights the dangers of passive smoking and supports the trend towards tobacco-free public places.”

He continued: “Eight out of ten smokers start in their teenage years. Once hooked, it is a habit that takes many of them to an early grave. Every year, 650,000 EU citizens die from tobacco related disease. I am determined to do everything I can to stop young people taking up smoking, and to help young smokers kick the habit before it ruins their health. I want to see a major shift in our society, where being smoke-free becomes the norm and the smoke-addicted are a dwindling minority."

Press releases, press packs, the logo and pictures of the ‘HELP’ campaign can be downloaded from the Internet site

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