Is a coughing bus shelter the key to raising lung cancer awareness?
Despite the ban on smoking in public places, the ever-increasing prices of tobacco products and the hard-hitting anti-smoking campaigns several million Brits continue to light up. Now the Scottish government has introduced two "coughing" bus shelters in a bid to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
The Primesight shelters at Glasgow's Buchanan Street bus station and on The Sandgate in Ayr town centre were built specifically for this purpose. Anyone waiting for a bus or talking shelter from the rain (whether they are smoking or not) will hear a 30-second audio clip of a man coughing, then a female voice recommending a visit to a doctor if a cough has been persisting for more than three weeks.
The bus stops also feature an image of a man coughing with the strap line "Don't get scared, get checked."
The most recent statistics available from Cancer Research UK reveal that around 43,500 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011 (around 120 people per day). It's the second most common cancer diagnosed in the U.K. after breast cancer. Rates of lung cancer in Scotland are among the highest in the world, which reflects the history of high smoking prevalence.
Scotland has the highest percentage of smokers in the U.K. according to an Office of National Statistics report published in November 2014. In Scotland 21.1 percent of the population smokes. In England the figure is 18 percent, Northern Ireland 18.7 percent and Wales 19.8 percent.
In a bid to further drive down smoking in the U.K. MPs have voted in favour of standardised cigarette packaging. If the House of Lords gives the move the green light, from 2016 every packet will be identical, apart from the make and brand name alongside health warnings and graphic photographs.
Over 600 youngsters aged 11 to 15 take up smoking every day in the U.K., which equates to more than 200,000 per year. It's believed that standardised packaging will help make cigarette packets less appealing while reinforcing important health warnings.
This year MPs also voted in favour of a ban on smoking in cars where children are present.
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