Health officials announced on Thursday that $54 million are being spent on a recent ad campaign meant to show the scary side of smoking. According to Reuters, the advertising blitz is called “Tips From Former Smokers” and will continue to be broadcasted for the following 12 weeks. Unlike other similar medical actions, the current campaign is much more violent because health officials wanted to show teenagers what risks they run.
Recent statistics show that many more adults have quit smoking due to the former campaigns used by the government. Nevertheless, the number of smoking teenagers continues to be alarmingly high which means that the messages of the former advertisements did not reach to them. As a consequence, the planners of the “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign have decided to use more powerful videos and images hoping that this way they can determine young smokers to quit.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention welcomes the initiative of health officials. In his opinion, more money should be spent on anti-smoking campaigns because tobacco companies use more than $10 billion per year to promote their cigarettes. Given these circumstances, it is very hard for anti-smoking campaigns to obtain visible results through their ads.
According to CDC, the ads that have been recently produced represent a combination between paid advertisements and public service announcements. The short videos show the real effects of smoking on real people. “They show cancer, heart attacks, stroke, amputation and what it’s like to live with those conditions,” Frieden stated.
The first video depicts Brandon, a 31-year-old former smoker whose legs were both amputated because he was diagnosed at 18 years old with Buerger’s disease, a rare illness that prevents blood from circulating through his legs. This ad ends with Brandon’s tip: “Allow extra time in the morning to put on your legs”.
The second TV spot shows Terrie, an emaciated 51-year-old smoker from North Carolina who prepares to go to work by putting in her teeth, by putting on her wig and arranging a scarf around the tracheostomy tube. The ad ends with the tagline: “Smoking causes immediate damage to the body. You can quit”.