If These Disgusting Anti-Smoking Ads Don’t Affect Kids, I Have No Idea What Will

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teens and smokingIt doesn’t matter how hard we try to convey that smoking kills; there still seems to be a cool cachet among many teens. In fact, the U.S. smoking rate hasn’t budged in years, which is somewhat surprising – and definitely disturbing. Now a nationwide ad campaign aims to shock smokers into quitting by showing graphic images that are beyond difficult to look at (like the one pictured left, which shows a 50-year-old man shaving around a gaping hole – or stoma – at the base of his neck).

While the ads aren’t specifically aimed at teens, I’m hoping that at least a percentage of teens smokers – or those considering taking it up – will be affected. Actually, I’m thinking this might be more effective than previous campaigns that try hard so speak directly to teens but totally miss the mark (probably because they’re trying way too hard).

This latest campaign – which includes print, radio and TV ads – comes courtesy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s their first national campaign, and they’re hoping it’ll influence tens of thousands of smokers. Of course, the FDA has already attempted to place graphic images similar to these ones directly on cigarette packages, but the move was deemed unconstitutional. Either way, I think these ads will have more impact anyway just based on the fact that they’re larger and that they’ll appear on TV, too (though, wait, do kids still watch commercials?).

Most kids think they’ll live forever and that even something as lethal as smoking can’t kill them. If only that were the case! It’ll be interesting to see if these graphic new ads speak to them in any way. I’m betting (and hoping) that they will.