A campaign is being launched to encourage young women in Northern Ireland to quit smoking.

More than twice as many young women in the 16 to 19 age-group smoke compared to males in the same age group. While a third of mothers smoke before or during their pregnancy and the problem is greatest with mothers under 20.

The Health Promotion Agency campaign will stress lesser known effects such as mouth cancer and gangrene.

Brian Gaffney of the HPA says the figures are "increasing at an alarming rate and currently sit at an all time high."

According to the HPA, more than 4,000 poisonous chemicals are inhaled by smokers, including some used in rat poison, paint stripper and household bleach.

The campaign, which includes television, radio, online and poster advertising, will provide support and advice for young women who want to stop smoking.

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