Big tobacco spends an astronomical $10.5 BILLION on advertising and promotion each year and instead of outlawing these health officials are going to spend a further paltry $54 million on a campaign to give the opposite message.
Coming to a TV and billboard near you for three months only is the ‘Tips From Former Smokers.” Really, it makes the battle of Little Big Horn look like a fair fight.
The true cost of smoking to America is enough to make you sick. 8 million of us have dire health conditions related to using tobacco in all its forms. The death sticks kill up to 440,000 of us each year, but worst of all it is the younger generation which are continuing to use tobacco. The US Surgeon General reported just last week that a quarter of all high school seniors use cigarettes regularly, and this group is particularly resistant to quitting so most of them, 8 out of 10, in fact, will go on smoking well into adulthood. For every smoking-related death, there are two new starters.
The new campaign is a hard-hitting combination of public service announcements and bought advertising aimed at educating the young about the dreadful price, in health terms of smoking and also the dangers of passive smoking. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a press release to launch ‘Tips From Former Smokers. “The ad campaign we are launching today will tell the real story.” Have they been sugar-coating the facts, until now? She went on to pay tribute to the people seen and heard in the campaign. “The courageous individuals who volunteered to be in this campaign lost lungs, legs, fingers and the ability to speak as a result of smoking’s toll,”
The hope is that the new ads, which are culled from ‘successful’ campaigns (what are the measure’s success) in several different states, will prove to be the eye-opener for young smokers and potential young smokers who are not yet fully aware of the pain and suffering they are inflicting on themselves. A typical ad tells the story of Brandon a thirty something double amputee out of North Dakota. Brandon was diagnosed at 18 with a condition known as Buerger’s disease. This is an unusual and distressing blood vessel condition that first stopped the circulation to Brandon’s legs then caused them to be cut off. Brandon’s best advice to young smokers is to allow extra time every morning to put on your artificial legs.
Another horror story is from a 51-year-old named Terrie from North Carolina. In the ad, Terrie is seen preparing to go to work. She begins by putting in her teeth and then her wig, but most telling of all is when she covers up the tracheotomy tube in her throat with a scarf. She has of course had throat cancer. Hard hitting images of the body conditions left behind after years of smoking are known to make the difference with many current smokers, and hopefully they will again. However, wouldn’t it be cheaper and more effective to simply outlaw all forms of tobacco advertising?