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New Ads Show Young Kids Dangers Of Tobacco

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) TRUTH campaign is launching a new television advertising campaign to engage children ages 12 and under and to stimulate conversations between parents and kids about the dangers of tobacco. With the tagline “Smokerman Can’t,” a toy named Smokerman can’t keep up with other superheroes because he smokes.

“Our poor superhero is seen in a series of ads where he can’t save the day because of smoking’s negative health effects,” said David Neville, UDOH Tobacco Program marketing coordinator. “We hope when parents see these ads they’ll jump in and tell their children what smoking does to your health.”

Research shows kids who talk to their parents about tobacco are less likely to smoke. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, conversations that are most effective in preventing tobacco use include:

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• Immediate effects. Discuss the effects of tobacco that happen quickly, like coughing, reduced physical performance and bad breath.

• Physical appearance. Discuss the effects of tobacco on one’s physical appearance like yellow teeth, wrinkles and smelly clothes.

• Facts. For example, cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemicals like ammonia (used to clean toilets), arsenic (used to poison rats) and formaldehyde (used to preserve dead bodies).

“This week, the new Smokerman ads will appear on prime time TV shows that parents and kids are likely to watch together.” said Neville. “The ads mimic toy commercials found on Saturday morning cartoons, but provide an important health message instead.”

A life-sized Smokerman doll will visit retail locations around Utah during the holiday season to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco. Nationally, every day more than 1,500 people under the age of 18 become regular smokers. About one-third of them will eventually die from a tobacco-related disease. More than 230,000 Utah residents continue to use tobacco and more than 1,100 Utahns die annually as a result of their own tobacco use.



Now that adults can't smoke at local bars with their adult friends, they go to each others homes. Kids are exposed to more smoke now than ever before. They also can now mingle with all the smokers on the streets that formerly smoked inside bars, where they could not be seen by kids.