A new advertising campaign urging people to quit smoking began this week.

Wiltshire Council is among 15 local authorities in the south west funding the campaign which begins today with a television advert on ITV plus adverts on local radio and on billboards.

The advert’s message is that smoking kills one in two people and can hasten death.

In Wiltshire one in five adults smokes and about 650 people a year will die as a result of smoking.

Maggie Rae, director of public health at Wiltshire Council, said the advertising campaign would feature emotionally powerful adverts.

She said: “They all aim to remind those who still smoke what they could miss out on in life if they die early and the serious impact this could have on those who love them.

"The campaign also highlights the excellent and expert local support to quit which is available, free of charge, through our Wiltshire stop smoking service.”

She said in Wiltshire many smokers will experience years of poor health, with about 3,500 suffering from a smoking related disease each year.

The cost of smoking related hospital admissions in Wiltshire is calculated to reach £14.8 million this year, according to the London Health Observatory Local Tobacco Control Profiles, 2013.

Research by the Royal College of Physicians in 2012 showed that second-hand smoke exposure was responsible for 1,000 additional incidents of childhood disease in Wiltshire.

A recent survey commissioned by councils in the South West found that in Wiltshire 53 per cent of smokers would like to quit.