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Butt that out

Butt that out

Quit smoking. Smoking makes even billboards cough.

Everyone is well aware that one of the most popular and unfulfilled New Year resolutions is to quit smoking. For smokers giving up this habit is a hard to do task. There is always a reason to wiggle out of not smoking anymore.

But the Swedish pharmaceutical company, Apotek Hjartat has come up with an innovative way to encourage people to follow through with their New Year Resolution. Helping people to live a longer and healthier life is a billboard that the company has put up in Stockholm’s Odenplan Square. What makes the billboard so special is the coughing which starts when a smoker with a cigarette passes by (clever use of smoke detectors).

While a few people are surprised and applaud the creativity of the ad, others seem to not know how to react. The idea of the campaign is to tell the smoker that their habit not only harms their health but also affects others around them. Although being publicly shamed does not seem to be the right way to discourage smoking. Nevertheless, it is a good attempt in a country where about 20% Swedes above the age of 15 smoke. However, they seemed to have forgotten about the non-cigarette related tobacco consumption.

India, which has about 11% of the populace breathing out tobacco, also saw an innovative anti-smoking campaign. Unlike in other countries, cigarettes in India are sold loose. This means that every cigarette selling shop has a lighter hanging for their convenience. The campaign focused on this lighter to get their message through.

Every time a person lights a cigarette, the lighter chants ‘Ram naam satya hai’, the holy call of death. The idea is to remind the smokers that they are nearer to death because of their habit.

While the intention of these sort of anti-smoking campaigns are positive, smokers are well aware about the consequences. It will take more than a coughing billboard and a chanting lighter to kick off their habit.

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