With Stoptober now upon us following National Eye Health Week, the Macular Society have published survey results that indicate many of the people elected to look after our well being, Members of Parliament, are unaware of the risks and consequences smoking can have on a persons vision. With the nation being publicly invited to stop smoking and offering help and increasing awareness during the month long campaign by the Department of Public Health, it is perhaps concerning that one of the major effects the habit can have is not all that widely known.
The Stoptober Challenge, so called due to it taking part across the month of October, is urging smokers to quit for 28 days. With lots of media presence, including TV spots with comedians such as Paddy McGuinness of Take Me Out fame, the campaign hopes to help people take a break from smoking during the four week period, with statistics showing that abstaining for such a time makes a person five times more likely to end the habit for good. At the time of writing, 238740 people had signed up to take part in the event.
The Macular Societies recent survey, however, showed that a vast proportion of our MP's were simply unaware of the link between smoking and vision loss. Although the overwhelming majority understood the consequences of the habit on other organs such as the lungs, very few knew the effect on a persons eyes.
- Only 14% of MP's believed that smoking either 'probably' or 'definitely' contributed to sight loss
- 600 young people join the ranks of smokers every day
- Over 90% of MP's agreed that smoking affect the heart and or lungs
- Smokers are 4x more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than a non smoker
- New packaging for cigarettes will not come into force until 2016 which detail the cost of smoking to a persons eyes