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Will These 5 Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads Encourage Your Kids Not to Start? (PHOTOS)

By Meredith Carroll |

Tips from former smokers

Shawn got throat cancer from smoking cigarettes

No parent ever wants to see their kids smoke cigarettes. Ever. Never.

But tobacco taxes and smoking bans haven’t made a dent in the U.S. smoking rate in many years, according to the New York Daily News. So the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hoping a new $54 million shock campaign will do the trick.

It’s the first-ever national advertising effort on behalf of the CDC, and the largest anti-smoking one they’ve ever undertaken. The idea behind the hard-hitting images is that they have the potential to be more effective in encouraging people to quit. The goal for the new ads, which are appearing in print, online and on TV, is that as many as 50,000 people will be persuaded to stop smoking.

As a parent, I hope the ads will prevent as many kids from starting smoking. The ads can be difficult to look at, but maybe that’s just the message that our kids need.

Take a look and see if you think showing these quit smoking ads to your kids will help prevent them from ever lighting up. (And if you need help quitting, information on a quit line and advice on quitting can be found here.)


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The CDC's graphic anti-smoking campaign is their first-ever national effort

Lung Cancer

Smoking causes immediate damage to your body. For Annette, it caused lung cancer.

All ads used with permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Will These 5 Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads Encourage Your Kids Not to Start? (PHOTOS)

  1. Shandeigh says:

    As a former smoking… nope. It won’t. When you are young… you think you’ll live forever and this won’t happn to me.

  2. Skelly says:

    As a Canadian, and unfortunately someone who has smoked for eight years, minus when I quit during my pregnancy and while nursing of course, I don’t think this campaign will help. Up here cigarette companies aren’t allowed to advertise, the extra high taxation makes cigarettes difficult to afford, and we have disturbing imagery very similar to that featured in this article covering half of each pack. For example, I’m looking at a pack right now that is halfway covered in an image of a diseased mouth. It might make a difference, I don’t know the exact stats, but it’s certainly not a huge difference. Thankfully it looks like smoking is even less “cool” for kids than it was in even my childhood, but it still certainly has appeal for kids. I think campaigns like this do spread a great message, but it’s just a tiny drop in the bucket when it comes to creating lasting solutions to the smoking issue.

  3. Marie says:

    It won’t make much difference at all. Think about whats so “in” with so many kids these days…goth, vampires, etc.. they’ll think these packages are way cool to carry around. If you’re already hooked on cigs, no matter what they put on the pack, it makes no difference, you don’t even look at the pack half the time, it’s a combination habit/addiction, and if you’ve ever tried to quit, you know how difficult it really is, yet you know exactly what it’s doing to you, and that doesn’t even make you give it up.

  4. Victoria says:

    Instead of advocating fear in ads, I hope they can advocate love and hope. The last one was cool. Alcohol is just as dangerous if not worse. And prescription drugs as well. I’ve quit for over 5 years now.. I’m big on yoga and holistic living.. It just didn’t make sense to me why I smoked.. It was just a thing to do.. And it helped numb the pain and stress in the mornings to lunch breaks.. The first year quoting was hard, but I worked out often and did yoga.. When I tried to smoke my body was so clean that I got so sick and threw up.. Ive never smoke since then.. Another thing to add is love and trust is the strongest campaign ever.

  5. Catherine says:

    As a smoker, these ads and those on cigarette packages are a waste of time and money. I do not even notice the ads on the packages. They are only pictures. Do you tell you how many cancerous toxins are being emitted from car exhaust or factories? Cancer is not even the number one disease, liver disease is, yet the health care professionals don’t run these types of campaigns about the dangers of drinking, especially aiming it at our youth. Do they advocate removing bars/pubs in universities and colleges, no. I even know parents that let their 13 year old drink and post the pictures on Facebook. They know fully well that their kids are drinking because they are all talking about the party this weekend or last. Surely one parent checks their child’s posts.

  6. Paula Kline says:

    Well – people are gonna smoke no matter what anyone says – or no matter what pictures they see.
    You have to WANT to quit – and you have to have the strength to quit .
    I have seen many people not giving a crap about their health- or anyone elses around them … – and they all have excuses..
    I just keep quiet and am not wasting my time or strength trying to get people to quit

  7. Jonik says:

    It would be far more helpful if the CDC showed graphics of barrels of the 450 or so pesticides that are registered for tobacco use, and of the cancer-causing radiation-contaminated phosphate fertilizers, of the roughly 1400 untested, often toxic, non-tobacco stuff that can be added to cigarettes, and of the industrial waste cellulose (wood chips, peanut shells, coffee bean hulls, corncobs, paper, etc etc etc) that may legally constitute part or ALL of a cigarette. How about a picture of some official, under oath in court, calling that “tobacco” and the smoke “tobacco smoke”?

    It would be especially helpful if the CDC gave us pictures of containers of the chlorine pesticides (showing manufacturers’ names), and of the chlorine bleaching process for cigarette paper, because those two elements serve to put dioxins into the smoke…dioxin being easily the worst of the worst industrial substances on the planet.
    The USA signed an international treaty to phase dioxin, and 11 other deadly pollutants, off the earth. But here it is, in the worst possible delivery route (inhalation), right under our noses without a word of warning. You’d think that government officials want smokers to get as sick as possible. That would “justify” even more smoke bans and, perhaps, even another Prohibition.

    The “benefits” of that would be to have helped the complicit industries evade massive penalties and liabilities for the deadly, unlabeled cigarette adulterants, it would get complicit government officials off the hook for having enabled that industry for so many decades, and it would eliminate competition to patented nicotine delivery products from the pharmaceutical industry.

  8. Barbara says:

    I have quit recently and am done, done, done with cigarettes! Not only are they harmful to your health, they’re disgusting! They smell disgusting, leave disgusting film on anything the smoke touches, not to mention the disgusting filters. As with anything, I can’t believe it actually took me that long – for me it was the knowledge of control – that I have enough self-control to take charge of my life and decide that I want to be good to myself and my body. It also requires self love. I think that if they focused on that in the campaign, it may help some people who are mature and in control of their lives stop smoking. Just a thought.

  9. MayasMomma214 says:

    This isn’t very convincing… I used to smoke and I’m just saying, those illnesses could be caused by ANYTHING. people who don’t smoke get lung cancer, amputations because of circulation, and strokes. Not buying it. I quit for my baby.

  10. marko says:

    Seriously people? “squat, don’t bend over. You don’t want your food to come out of the hole in your neck.” Really? Or… “my fingers and toes are falling off because I smoked.” Come on. Enough already. Either quit lying to people or make the damned things illegal. Oh, right, the government won’t make cigarettes illegal because it couldn’t survive without the exorbanant taxes they collect from smokers. Really though, the scare tactics and lies are just going too far.

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