PAULA NEWMAN WAS one of three smokers who spoke out against their past habit at a news conference today.
Newman, 50, was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) five years ago and since then has seen a dramatic decline in her quality of life. Speaking about her diagnosis this afternoon, she explained that she can no longer work as a chef, go swimming or dancing or enjoy getting her hair done in a salon…all because of her decision to smoke.
The three smokers were brought together today by a number of health organisations who joined forces to call on the government to introduce plain packaging on tobacco problems as soon as possible.
The charities – including the ISPCC, the Irish Cancer Society, the Irish Asthma Society and the Irish Heart Foundation – believe replacing attractive branding with graphic warnings will discourage children from picking up the habit, thus improving health outcomes in years to come.
To emphasise their arguments, Newman, Charlotte Heaphey and Frank Cox told their stories of COPD, heart problems and lung cancer.
Paula Newman, 50
I can’t dance anymore….
The Dublin woman cannot go for a swim, get her hair done in a salon or work as a chef (her profession) because of her COPD.
Charlotte Heaphey, 47
I was 11 years old when I started smoking…For 36 years I inhaled life-threatening chemicals…
Heaphey is a mother of two. She suffered a heart attack four years ago.
Here’s her story, in her own words:
Frank Cox, late 60s
I’m one of the lucky ones…if I had still been smoking, I would have had no chance.
A lung cancer survivor, Cox can’t believe that a “product that kills” has been left on the market.