386,000 Quebecers living with smoking-related disease or illness, says anti-tobacco advocacy group

If you smoke, you're among the nearly 400,000 Quebecers who may end up suffering from an illness or disease linked to tobacco, says the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health as it launches its new awareness campaign for anti-tobacco week that starts Sunday.

"We're talking about 13,000 people per year who die in the province," said executive director Marc Drolet.

"In general the numbers are down but the people that die are still at 13,000 and that's huge."

The council cites the United States Surgeon General which says that for each tobacco-related death, 30 people live with a tobacco-related illness or disease. Drolet said that in Quebec, that translates to about 386,000 people.

Drolet said these numbers in general are stable but they are still very high, including those aged 18-34 who smoke and who haven't appeared to have gotten the message.

"I have no idea (why), peer pressure, advertising?" said Drolet in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

Drolet said they're also worried what effect the new marijuana law will have especially on younger people who may be tempted to start smoking.

The new tv ad campaign shows bleak black-and-white images of people with various scars from surgery linked to smoking-related cancers and other diseases and illnesses. Their campaign will also be focusing on social media campaigns and support groups to help people kick the habit.

"The younger they start, the harder it is for them to quit," said Drolet.

(Video: Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health/FACEBOOK)