Cool and Weird Anti-Smoking Ads

Yeah, yeah — I smoke and it will kill me, but so will life. There are all sorts of ads that tell me I’ll die a horrid death but none that told me that about marrying a psychopath. Still, people try to warn us and it’s a valiant effort. If it keeps kids from starting to smoke then I’m all for it. Some of these ads might do it, but in my experience, the ones that are really frightening are pulled quickly. Big tobacco doesn’t like people trying to save their customers.

Sure, every time there’s some congressional hearing, representatives from the tobaccos industry say that cigarettes are not addictive. HA! Any smoker will tell you they are, and coming up with an ad or or commercial that actually makes people consider quitting is pure genius. Here’s some interesting attempts. Do they make you feel like you should quit smoking, or do you want to join me and the other “cool kids” behind the building, puffing away?

Oddly enough, even back in the days of “Mad Men” and being able to smoke in offices, elevators and hospitals, there were anti-smoking commercials. The American Cancer Society fought a large lobby of pro-tobacco supporters. Still, they tried and people took notice.

Another commercial, aired sometime in the early 1980s, showed a woman smoking and little by little, she was covered in tar and nicotine until she was completely covered and screaming. The tag line was simple and effective: “If what happened on your Inside, happened on your outside, would you still smoke?”

It was so effective and frightening, somehow it disappeared from TV and you can’t even find it on You Tube. However, an image of a print ad still exists…

In Europe, where even babies and dogs smoke, they have tried ads to stop people from smoking. Naturally, the French have their own bend (“Smoking makes you a slave to tobacco”).

In Finland, posters are placed around army barracks to discourage smoking among soldiers. Talk about “make love, not war.” Why do the Fins have penis guns?

But what works better than attacking a man’s penis? The praying woman is a good touch. Why not try Viagra, folks?

I guess this is why we haven’t seen Johnny Depp in a while.

I’m feeling that lugging a giant popscicle to the roof and standing on it might be stupider.

Perhaps using Hiroshima and the atomic bomb may be a bit too much, even for smokers.

I don’t want to live to see our planes running from an alien invasion or robot Bin Laden as a Yankee fan, thank you very much!

The goat, however, seems quite pleased, so who are we to judge?

A little Hieronymus Bosch makes an artistic ad but a weird message.

A strong image. Unfortunately it’s a military graveyard.

Who? Why do you need six bullets… cigarettes?

It looks like a North Korean cigarette, invading the south of your lungs. “Smoking will make you Kim Jong Ill!”

An ad for the digital age. I hope it’s dial up service.

I’ve GOT to get one of these ashtrays!

And, on this creepy note, I’ll end this article and go outside for a smoke.



Speider Schneider

Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. Follow him on Twitter @speider

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