Grieving husband joins national campaign to end smoking

​A Bardney widower is lending his voice to a national charity’s call to end smoking after seeing the devastating effects of smoking related-cancers first hand.
Nigel Burley with wife, Kim.Nigel Burley with wife, Kim.
Nigel Burley with wife, Kim.

A proposed law would see the legal age of the sale of tobacco products in England by one year every year, meaning anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, will never be able to legally be sold cigarettes.

The legislation was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday (March 20) and will be voted on later this spring.

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Here in the East of England, where tobacco kills one person every 50 minutes and is responsible for around 4,900 cancer deaths each year, and the legislation has been welcomed by Nigel Burley, 68, who lost his wife, Kim, to cancer of the ureter in 2022 at the age of just 58 after she smoked for more than three decades.

Kim’s cancer was discovered after she spotted blood in her urine and she was diagnosed with cancer of the ureter. This was removed along with her right kidney. underwent chemotherapy between September 2018 and early 2019.

But in July 2019, a routine cystoscopy found four tumours in Kim’s bladder. Various treatments were tried and considered, including immunotherapy. She was due to undergo radiotherapy in May 2022, but by then, Kim’s health was failing. She died five weeks later.

Nigel, dad to Sophie, 37, and Yasmin, 32, said: said that her surgeon told her smoking could have caused the cancer, even though Kim had stopped seven years before.

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Nigel said: “Smoking is a deadly addiction and, like my wife, most people who smoke started when they were young and have tried to quit. I know she would have backed raising the age of sale of tobacco 100 per cent.

"Kim was a lively, vibrant and strong-willed lady, who would be all for urging people to email their MP on this crucial vote.

"To think that young people could be prevented from accessing tobacco products, that generations to come could be spared from similar heartache, is incredible.

“The upcoming vote is a critical milestone towards ending the devastating effects of smoking. Victory is almost in sight, but for the sake of our children’s and grandchildren’s future, we cannot leave it to chance. Now, we must do everything we can to make sure MPs get this over the line.”

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New research by Cancer Research UK states that between now and 2040, the number of cigarettes that would go unsmoked across the UK would add up to tens of billions if the Government’s modelling of a 90 percent reduction in rates of young people taking up smoking is achieved.

Nigel is calling on the public to email their MP and encourage them to vote in favour of the legislation at

Cancer Research UK’s East of England spokesperson, Shelley Baxter, said: “The biggest cause of cancer has no place in our future. As our analysis suggests, fast-forward to 2040, and the statistics could tell a very different story. Up to 910,000 fewer cigarettes smoked each day in the region would mean more people living longer, healthier lives, free from the fear of cancer.

“Nothing would have a bigger impact on reducing the number of preventable deaths in the East of England than ending smoking. So, we must make sure our MPs are behind this critically important Age of Sale legislation. Together, we can make a smokefree generation a reality.”