To Smoke or Not to Smoke?


PHOTO 2016 by Basil MK (CC0)

Back in late December, Swedish pharamacy chain Apotek Hjartat backed a new advertisement meant to encourage smokers who pass by to quit their habits.

Making use of smoke detecting technology, the billboard in the ad shows the model coughing as a reaction to smokers nearby. Afterwards, Apotek Hijartat’s products to aid in quitting are displayed.

I felt that this billboard was a really great idea, as people who smoke can clearly see the effects of their actions on others. Second-hand smoke, described by the Center for Disease Control, is “smoke from burning tobacco products…[and] smoke that has been exhaled, or breathed out, by the person smoking.” All that smoke is toxic to nonsmokers who breathe it in, increasing their own chances of cancer with exposure to carcinogens in tobacco smoke. It’s not just the smoker who can develop cancer. Anyone exposed to tobacco smoke can. While many of the reactions of the smokers in the advertisement were laughter, the first step towards change is being able to be open about the topic and bring up discussions about it. I wonder if we could bring this smart billboard to the United States…


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