Public Health England’s (PHE) New Year campaign warns smokers that every cigarette “rots you from the inside out” – highlighting the damage that smoking does to muscles, bones, teeth and eyes / PA

The New Year campaign warns smokers that every cigarette 'rots you from the inside out'

Smoking groups have accused public health officials of “scaremongering”, as graphic new adverts showing roll-up cigarettes made of rotting human flesh were released today.

Public Health England’s (PHE) New Year campaign warns smokers that every cigarette “rots you from the inside out” – highlighting the damage that smoking does to muscles, bones, teeth and eyes.

However, the campaign group Forest branded the campaign “poisonous” and accused PHE of making “exaggerated claims”.

Its chief executive, Simon Clark, said that “there can’t be a sane adult in the United Kingdom who isn’t well aware of the health risks of smoking” and urged Public Health England to “engage directly with consumers” rather than using shock tactics.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, said that while many were aware of the damage smoking does to the heart and lungs, they were less likely to know about the damage that is done to the rest of the body, which she compared to “rotting it from the inside out”.

The adverts will appear online and on billboards from today.

Smoking increases the risk of bone fractures and more than doubles a person’s chance of experiencing disabling lower back pain, according to PHE figures.

It increases chances of tooth decay and loss, hugely heightens a person’s risk of losing their eyesight to age-related macular degeneration and also increases the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 59 per cent, PHE said.

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