Sponge ad re-wrung to urge smokers to quit

February 2, 2014

A highly successful ad made more than 30 years ago showing a sponge wringing out cancer producing tar from the lungs of a smoker has been revamped and will re-air as part of the latest effort to drive down smoking rates in WA.

The ads were produced by Cancer Institute NSW as a remake of the original 1979 television advertisement which proved so effective, tobacco lobbyists attempted to have them banned.

John Bevin, the original creative behind the ad is visiting Perth to coincide with the launch of this latest Make Smoking History campaign which hits the airwaves across the State from tonight.

 “There was no doubt the tobacco industry was scared of sponge and the ad was so effective we found that Sydney’s smoking rate fell 3.4 per cent in a five month period after they aired,” said Mr Bevins.

The revamped ads proved particularly effective, when they were aired in NSW in 2007, among a new, younger market of smokers who hadn’t seen the original.

Cancer Council Tobacco Programs Manager, Cassandra Clayforth, said the message in the ads was as relevant today as it was when they originally aired.

“I’m sure many people will remember the powerful words and imagery in this ad, which highlights the negative and immediate effect each cigarette has on a smoker’s health.

“Despite the fact we have recently marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark US Surgeon General’s report which found smoking caused cancer, too many West Australians are still dying each day from smoking related diseases,” said Ms Clayforth.

While the prevalence of smoking is on the decline, about 270,000 Western Australians still smoke and 1,250 lose their lives to smoking every year in WA.

Research shows that half of all smokers will die prematurely because of their habit. More than half of those killed by their smoking will still only be middle-aged (35-69), losing an average of 23 years of life.

To watch the ad visit http://www.cancerwa.asn.au/prevention/tobacco/makesmokinghistory/current-campaign/
If you want to talk to someone about quitting call the Quit line on 13 78 48. To register for a Fresh Start course call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.


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