For years, anti-smoking ads have taken the same approach: they use rotting body parts and gruesome images and horrifying facts to terrify people into giving up the vice.
But in a new ad by the U.S.-based Truth Initiative, decaying organs were replaced by something we actually want to watch — cat videos.
Using a montage of cute, funny and even sad clips, the anti-smoking group presents the fact that cats are susceptible to secondhand smoke and are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes. And if cancer from secondhand smoke is killing cats, where will the internet get all of its cat videos?
According to the Truth Initiative, smoking = no cats = no cat videos. In other words, smoking will result in a #catmageddon. So, anti-smoking ads are still terrifying.
While we all know cats won't go extinct because of smokers, on their website, the Truth Initiative explains that even cats that don't belong to smokers are at risk if they come into contact with a person who smokes since smokers are constantly emitting toxins from their hair and clothes — even when they aren't smoking.
The campaign is perfectly targeted towards the youngest generation of smokers, who are likely less concerned about the long-term health effects than older generations, Sherry Emery, director of University of Illinois, Chicago's Health Media Collaboratory tells NPR.
And while traditional smoking rates are steadily decreasing — according to the Ministry of Health, 14 per cent of Ontario teens smoke daily, the lowest rate since 1977 — research from the University of Waterloo shows that 1 in 5 Canadian youth have tried smoking e-cigarettes, a trend that could be on the rise.
While e-cigarettes are smoke and tobacco-free, they do contain nicotine and are addictive.
So it's time to think of the cat videos — and put down the smoke, whatever it is.
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