Harrowing new stop-smoking campaign

Yellow lungs transform into sponges saturated with black tar. The thick tar consistently drips into a beaker until it is completely full. A calm voice in the background explains, “If you could wring out the cancer-producing tar that goes into the lungs of a pack-a-day smoker every year, this is how much you get.” He emphasized “It is enough to make you sick, very sick,”
This is one advertisement within a $1.25 million campaign to be aired by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) in order to further discourage smoking within New York City.
“There are more than a million smokers in New York City,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. “This new ad campaign was designed to address the obstacles smokers face when they try to quit. Smokers have a hard time quitting, but not quitting could cost you your health and your life.”
After a year of conducting focus groups and in-depth interviews with smokers from all boroughs, the DOHMH has developed a new approach to help smokers quit. Rather than concentrate on the physically damaging effects of smoking, the first part of the campaign will psychologically target any excuse a smoker may have for not ending his/her addiction.
This “Echo-Ad” series starts with two young men. “I can’t go more than a few hours without a cigarette,” said one. His counter-smoker is lying in bed suffering from some tobacco-related illness and whispers, “I can’t go more than a few feet without the oxygen tank.”
Aggressive advertising coupled with anti-smoking legislation throughout the past decade has made the dangers of smoking common knowledge.
A 2006 DOHMH survey showed that there are around 279,000 smokers in Queens. This is a 21.6 percent reduction of smokers within the past four years, but smoking is still the number one cause of preventable death in New York City.

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