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Dying smoker at centre of latest push to help quitters

LONDON - A man who died of cancer before he got to see his daughter is at the centre of an emotional new television advertising campaign to persuade smokers to quit the habit.

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Created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the new campaign features Anthony Hicks, a heavy smoker who developed cancers in his head and neck.

The ad shows him in bed with a tube taped to his nose and a hole in his throat through which he breathes following his laryngectomy. In the ad, he talks with great difficulty about the impending visit of his daughter Alexandra, who lives in the US, with his final words to camera "I will be alive to see that".

However, the endline reveals that he died 10 days after the ad was filmed and never got to see Alexandra.

The spot urges smokers to call the NHS Smoking Helpline and is part of the Department of Health's "Don't give up giving up" campaign.

It was written by Diane Leaver and art directed by Simon Rice. Dominic Savage directed the ad through production company Large. Media for the campaign is by PHD.

Melanie Johnson, minister for public health, said: "This new campaign is a stark reminder of the potential dangers of smoking and the horrific consequences of the variety of cancers it can cause."

The campaign breaks today on national television and will be backed by a new radio advertisement to be aired from the beginning of next week.

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