Friday, April 5, 2013

Using Terminal Smokers to Scare Others into Quitting...

The recent ads that promote the anti-
smoking campaign focus upon people 
who have terminal health issues as a 
result of their addiction to nicotine and 
cigarettes. While these ads may be
having some impact; this strategy fully 
embraces fear as the tactic to affect 
change. This is an old approach, dating 
back at least to when the actor Yul 
Brunner made the PSA about his lung 
cancer in the 80s. Does advertising only
know how to use positive spin when 
promoting cigarettes? I can't understand 
why the only considered approach to get 
people to stop smoking is the use of 
negative advertising. More fear mongering.  
Who has decided that fear works?

My question is this- why is there no interest 
in showing the good side of quitting smoking, 
the positive aspects that are all the right 
reasons to quit?  Clean smell, fresh air,
health, money saved-those sort of things. 
Why isn't smoke free success any part of 
the ad campaign? Are the Mad Men afraid 
this approach wouldn't work? 
It's certainly never been tried.

I'm guessing that a few hundred million 
people have died from cigarettes since 
I was born. I have buried seven family 
members from smoking related illnesses. 
I was addicted for almost forty years-but 
I quit, and am healthier than I have been 
in thirty years. In the almost three years 
since I stopped, I have regained almost 
all of my lung capacity, my sense of smell, 
my singing voice and saved more than 
$8,000. My friends say I look much healthier, 
smell and sound infinitely better and have 
completely stopped the daily coughing 
routine that creeped them out.

Intimidating people by foisting visions of 
carcinogenic horror upon them seems a 
short term fix at most. People block images 
they don't want to remember. Do I need to 
have a tracheotomy or a portion of my lung 
removed to make my point?  It's too late 
then. I believe that for the world to become 
smoke free, policies and strategies that 
encourage all the great aspects of a no 
smoking lifestyle, complete with various 
incentive programs, is the long term 
solution to decrease global tobacco use.
Leaders like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and 
President Vladimir Putin are on the right track.

The whole point is to quit before it's too late, 
right? There's nothing wrong with listening 
to someone who figured this out in time. 
Maybe it's time for smoke free ads about 
winning the battle? Like "DON'T take a puff,
it's Springtime!" A survivor seems like 
a far better spokesperson. Going smoke 
free is supposed to be a new lease on life, 
not the End of Days. Take the long view.

I remain an optimist.

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