Health campaigns have worked for decades to get people to quit smoking. Some have been successful and some have not. Campaigns have tried humor, they’ve highlighted future risks, they’ve shocked people, and many use visceral imagery to prompt people to quit.
Two recent campaigns caught my attention and both get to the point in very different ways.
Tips From Former Smokers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Tips has been highly effective. The CDC reports that nearly 1.64 million people attempted to quit smoking as a result of the campaign in 2012. And, an estimated 6 million nonsmokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking, and an estimated 4.7 million additional nonsmokers recommended cessation services to their friends and family.
In my opinion, the thing that sets this campaign apart from other cessation campaigns is the focus on a wide range of diseases caused by smoking, including diabetes, COPD and eye diseases. Many anti-smoking campaigns focus on the cigarette and lung cancer connection. Tips goes beyond lung cancer (which by the way is not always caused by smoking) and I think this is vitally important because smoking is bad for your entire body– not just your lungs.
#CatMageddon, The Truth Initiative
A silly campaign video with very flawed logic has been causing a great deal of social chatter for the past month or two. The campaign warns people to quit smoking because pets with owners who smoke are twice as likely to die of cancer, and well, without pets, specifically cats, we wouldn’t have cat videos in the Internet. The campaign features a cat riding on a Roomba vacuum dressed as a shark. And people are talking.
Sherry Emery, the director of the University of Illinois, Chicago’s Health Media Collaboratory, said in an NPR interview, “sometimes people don’t care enough about themselves. They do care about their pets,” she says. “And cat videos, of course. They capitalize on this cultural phenomenon where people just love cat videos.”
Have any anti-smoking campaigns caught your attention lately?