No Smoking

No Smoking

Posted on 01. Mar, 2010 by in Thailand

How is this for an anti-smoking campaign?


What you are seeing are photos of various possible consequences of smoking.  They’re pretty gross.  Some show rotting teeth, some show blackened lungs, some show throat cancer.  There is also one that shows water being poured over an outstretched hand… which meant nothing to me, but I came to find out it’s part of a funeral ceremony.  A friend of ours always specifically asks for “the baby picture.”  I guess it highlights the effect of secondhand smoke, and compared to the others it is less disturbing.  But you can’t buy a box of cigarettes without some sort of picture and warning message on it.

This packaging is just one aspect of the aggressive anti-tobacco campaign that Thailand has adopted over the past few decades.  From what I’ve read, in the 1980’s, somewhere around 50% of men smoked (the number of women has always been much lower for whatever reason).  30 years later, the percentage of the total population that smokes is closer to 19%.  I had heard vaguely about an ad campaign that basically shamed people into not smoking.  It basically pictured smoking as something only “bad people” do.  As I was trying to find more specific information online, I was surprised by the scope of the campaign.  Smoking is currently banned in all indoor air-conditioned establishments, restaurants, bars and open-air markets.  It is also illegal for tobacco companies to advertise.  This includes ashtrays, t-shirts, posters, etc.  And, if a character on tv is smoking, it is blurred out.

Thailand has really been leading the way in controlling tobacco use in Asia.  They’ve even been recognized by WHO and other worldwide organizations for doing that.  If you want to know more on this topic, here are the articles I’ve been reading and pulling info from:

The Nation– Thailand recognized as anti-smoking model (2008)

Washington Post– Thailand resisted big tobacco (1996)

New York Times– Thailand’s wide smoking ban (2002)

What’s the most memorable anti-smoking ad you remember?

This is the first one that came to my mind:

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3 Responses to “No Smoking”

  1. paul

    02. Mar, 2010

    The big push now in Thailand is to curb drunk and reckless driving in a similar way – by posting graphic images of people killed in auto accidents on billboards and alongside highways and by stationing wrecked vehicles (with the blood still in the windshields) on corners near curves.

    certainly tames the old “brain on drugs” commercials, don’t you think?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Tim Jahr

    02. Mar, 2010

    Hooray for Thailand! It almost makes me overlook the oppressive heat and want to go there.

    Man, more countries should do this. Everyone would benefit.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Kassie

    03. Mar, 2010

    I think of the second hand smoke billboard with the little toddler surrounded by smoke in the back seat of a car. Its so sad…and true! That one makes me mad!!!

    Reply to this comment

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