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Supermodel Christy Turlington has emphysema

Supermodel Christy Turlington has announced that she is suffering from early-stage emphysema, despite the fact that she gave up smoking over five years ago. Christy Turlington is currently appearing on TV screens in a new advertisement for the Department of Health's NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 169 0 169).

"I am 31. I smoked years ago and I have early-stage emphysema. I've only just got the results of the test and I have to go back in a year for more tests," said Christy. "Generally they don't make this kind of discovery until you are much older. The really frightening thing is that there was enough of an effect from my smoking that it caused permanent damage."

"Emphysema is one of the UK's biggest killers and severely effects quality of life. People often believe that it only affects people in old age, but it can actually be diagnosed in people much younger than that," said a spokesperson from the British Lung Foundation. "In emphysema, the alveoli in the lungs are gradually destroyed so people have difficulty absorbing enough oxygen. The airways are also effected in this condition and can cause anything from mild to severe shortness of breath."

The discovery was made when Christy volunteered herself for a new scanning technique at Weill Medical Centre, New York, to raise awareness for the new technology. Christy hopes that her announcement will make smokers and teenagers, susceptible to peer pressure, to realise the damage that smoking can do.

Christy gave up cigarettes three years before her father, Dwain Turlington, died of smoking related lung cancer in 1997. Since his death Christy has been a passionate anti-smoking campaigner and works very closely with Cancer charities and on related initiatives across the USA.

Christy's new advertisement for the NHS Smoking Helpline forms part of a series of testimonials from victims, or relatives of victims, suffering from smoking related illnesses. These advertisements highlight the grief and loss felt by family and friends and will encourage smokers not to stop trying to give up; this is reflected in the campaign's strapline: `Don't give up giving up'.

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