The Macular Society's, 'Is It Real?' campaign has received the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron following its second phase launch during National No Smoking Day 2015. The campaign focuses on creating awareness in children, and indeed people of every age, of the dangers that smoking can bring to a persons long term visual health. Whilst the habit is widely recognised to be a leading cause of cancer and heart conditions, some of its other affects such as sight loss, are not quite so commonly known, hence the Macular Society's new push.
As an organisation, The Macular Society supports and helps those afflicted by macular conditions such as AMD, or age related macular degeneration and has been doing so for over 25 years. AMD specifically tends to affect older adults primarily and results in the loss of central visions in the sufferer due to retinal damage. This visual field center is known as the macula. The society offers information and support to sufferers whilst also funding research projects into related conditions in the hope of finding a cure.
'Is It Real?' is based around three very unsettling and to the point videos which have been created following the documentation of how people suffering with macula related conditions live with their disease. It explores the link between smoking and sight loss, without holding any punches, urging children in particular to think twice about taking up such a habit and the physical consequences it can bring about. When statistics show that a staggering 98% of children that were surveyed were not aware of any such correlation between the loss of sight and smoking, it is clear that such warning campaigns are desperately needed to increase the public's knowledge especially when the same survey indicated that the most feared consequence was blindness in comparison to cancer and heart failure.
Mr Cameron has added his voice of support to the society and has claimed its approach to be both 'fresh' and 'innovative', wishing it 'every success' in its goal to help reduce tobacco use amongst children.