Best Anti Smoking Adverts
The public information film has long been a great British tradition. Be it the Green Cross Code Man or Alvin Stardust teaching us how to cross the road safely, the Kenny Everett-voiced Charley the cat warning us about dangers facing children, or those terrifying guides on what to do in the event of a nuclear apocalypse, many have become key parts of our collective consciousness.
Stop smoking adverts have also been a major part of these government-funded public safety initiatives. Some of them may well be getting on a bit – but their message is just as relevant today.
How many of these do you remember, and which are your favourites? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook through the hashtag #quitwithhelp – and remember, if you’re looking to quit, your best chance of success is to go and see a healthcare professional for personalised advice and quit plans.
The John Cleese years
Monty Python star Cleese, himself an ex-smoker, fronted a series of adverts in the mid-1990s, using black humour to highlight how silly smoking can be when we all know the dangers. Here are a few of our favourites
Do you know how much ash a 20-a-day smoker makes?
Some people find they get irritable and short-tempered when they give up smoking
The shock factor
Humour can help us see the ridiculousness of doing something that could kill us, but hard-hitting adverts can also have a strong impact. The UK has had its fair share. Warning – some of these can be a hard watch. But a necessary one. Great motivation for sticking with the quit.
Every 15 cigarettes you smoke
Natural Born Smoker
Think of your family
The impact of smoking on those around us can go far beyond secondhand smoke and making your house smelly. Remembering how smoking can affect your friends and family can be a powerful motivator – how would you feel if your children smoked, or if you die young thanks to a smoking-related disease? Some of these adverts hit the emotions hard.
Wanna be like you
You’re, like, the best mum I’ve had
No matter how careful you are
Listen to people who’ve been through it
Everybody is different, so what works for one person may not work for you – but remembering that other people have managed to quit can also be a powerful motivator. Seeing that the statistics about smoking-related diseases aren’t just numbers, but real people, with lives and families just like yours can also be a great reminder of why you want to stop if you start to waver. For more (with added American accents) check out the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s much-praised Tips From Former Smokers campaign.
Why did you give up?
Hollyoaks star Gary Lucy uses the NHS stop smoking service
If you want to see more classic (and more recent) stop smoking adverts, check out NHS Smokefree’s YouTube channel. Thanks to them for the permission to use these.