Until a few years ago, Ken Newman was a heavy smoker.   But then doctors diagnosed him with throat cancer, which nearly killed him.

Ken:  Just the word Cancer alone. You become suicidal, I didn’€™t want to live, and I mean how do you go through life without speaking?

Ken started smoking when he was 14 years old and continued for 50 years

Ken: I wanted to be one of the boys, all of my friends smoked, the whole lot of them smoked. I started smoking, you know when you have a few drinks then you have an extra smoke. And I ended up smoking I’€™d say between about 40 or 50 a day. I never ever thought this would happen to me, a lot of people don’€™t think it will happen to you and then 8 years ago I got a bad throat and I went to the doctor.

His throat was riddled with cancer. He was given radiation treatment to try and burn out the tumours.

Ken: The radiation is actually worse than the operation. You don’€™t eat, I lost all my teeth, you lose all your hair, you don’€™t shave, and you lose your sense of smell, your sense of taste, that’€™s what radiation, does to you. But the radiation did clear me up. But only for a period of 4 years and then it came back.

And then there was only one option, a total laryngectomy completely and then they cut out my voice box.

You know I’€™m talking with a hole on my throat, I’€™m going to take this bib off and show the viewers you would like to be like this, especially the ladies. There has been an incline in lady smokers, and I’€™m sure no young attractive lady would like to walk around like this. That’€™s what you will look like. And it’€™s not a nice sight to see.

He breathes and speaks through a hole in his throat.

VISUALS: Ken cleaning hole in his throat.

Smoking can do this to anyone, at any time.

Ken: And it’€™s not because of my age and because I was smoking 40 50 cigs a day. Going through to the hospitals I’€™v seen youngsters there of 19 20, smokers that have got this and we don’€™t hear about it.

He is not the first in his family to suffer from smoking related diseases, but even as he reflects on the short-sightednessof his decision to smoke’€¦it’€™s too late and the damage has been done.

Ken: My father and mother were heavy smokers, both smokers yes and I lost my mother through cancer, but not throat cancer, other cancer, and my father a heart attack, and heart attacks are also tobacco related.

Like many smokers, Ken ignored warnings about the dangers of tobacco.   Once a sportsman himself, today he can only watch from the side lines.   His condition couldn’€™t be more different to that of this young boxer who he sponsors.

Ken: In the old days they used to say every smoke you have is a nail in your coffin. We used to laugh and look at me sitting here today. That was a nail in my coffin all around.

No one is to blame except yourself, except myself. I wanted to smoke I did smoke.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I actually get disgusted. This could have all been prevented.

If I had to go back I would never have touched a cigarette in my life.