The $25 million National Tobacco Campaign with a slogan ‘Every cigarette is doing you damage’ is one of my favourite advertisement campaigns ever publicised. The campaign’s tv commercials provide the audience with many “real” pictures, from damaged organs (lung, brain, artery) to an infected foot caused by gangrene. One of the ads appeared on TV even shows a woman who suffers from mouth cancer. Her mouth is swollen and her teeth is dirty and unorganised. She speaks a bit about mouth cancer and finally says “Quitting is hard. Not quitting is harder.” I felt so sorry for her.
There is also a well-explained TV ad mentioning the substances of cigarettes. It shows a woman who lights up and raises a cigarette to her mouth. As she smokes, the cigarette becomes a test tube filled with sticky boiled brown fluid. She then coughs and looks so terrible. The narrator explains (you can see the full transcript here):
When you smoke you inhale over 4,000 chemicals.
It’s a toxic, poisonous mix of substances. Including Ammonia — the bleach in toilet cleaner… Acetone, the chemical in nail polish remover… Benzene, found in paint stripper… And Hydrogen Cyanide, used in rat poison.
So it’s no surprise that smoking causes mouth cancer, gangrene, and harms unborn babies. Every cigarette is doing you damage. Now is the time to quit.
Besides TV advertisements, the government also provides a telephone support (Quitline) 131 848 which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It offers assistance and advice on how to quit smoking and provides information through booklets. For all people who live in Indonesia, do we have this kind of 24-hours telephone support provided by our government?? I ask you this because I have never heard anything like that before 😀 . Not even in Saudi Arabia. Gosh, they’re rich. They don’t need help, do they? LOL.
In my opinion, the most amazing and effective part of the campaign lies on the warning messages that are printed on every tobacco packaging exists in Australia. The government insists on displaying images of damaged foot (gangrene), swollen mouth (cancer), clogged arteries, and damaged lung on front AND back of the tobacco pack! These are some of the images that are printed:
I think it’s a very clever move to show the graphical format, as opposed to the written format for this kind of purpose. Everyone knows that cigarette is a dangerous substance. Providing statistics or a list of diseases do not directly influence them to quit. People need to see the evidence of how their bodies can be damaged by smoking cigarettes and how ugly some parts of their bodies can be (as a result of smoking). Honestly, those images and ads scared me when the first time I saw them!! If I were a heavy smoker who had never thought about quitting before, I’d immediately have looked for help. But I was rather disappointed when I discovered that the pictures of mouth cancer and gangrenous foot are FAKE! In fact, the woman who suffers from mouth cancer and appears on TV ads is actually an actress! I honestly thought she was seriously ill!!! (oh, I need a better set of eyes hehehe). Although the ads are fake, the dangers of smoking are real. I found a more disgusting picture (compared to the one shown on the ads) of human foot infected by gangrene. And according to this website, over 90% of patients with oral/mouth cancer consume tobacco products. So, be careful guys 😀 .
THAT’s how the Australian anti-smoking campaign looks like. How about in Indonesia? Well, well, well… We DO have a warning message mentioning about the dangers of smoking displayed on every packaging. The same message, which I’m sure MOST Indonesians can cite it by heart, is also displayed for maybe 2 seconds using a very small font following every cigarette TV ads. Two seconds??? Ya! Two damn seconds! (well, the last time I counted was 2 seconds). The message disappeared before I could even read the whole sentence 😀 . This is what it says:
Merokok dapat menyebabkan kanker, serangan jantung, impotensi dan gangguan kehamilan dan janin.
[Smoking can cause cancer, heart attack, impotency, problems during pregnancy, and may harm unborn babies]
And this is pretty much how the packaging looks like (taken from here) :