New Anti-Smoking Advertising Campaign Is Another Shocker

NHS' smoke free 'anti-smoking advertising'

NHS Smokefree Health Harms advertising campaign highlights the toxic effect of smoking on the heart, brain and lungs. And it’s not a pretty sight.

NHS Smokefree poster advertising campaign

At the time of year when most smokers give some serious thought to quitting smoking, Public Health England and the NHS are offering a not-so-subtle reminder of why this probably would be a New Year’s Resolution worth doing – and seeing through all the way to the end.

The NHS Smokefree Health Harms advertising campaign is highlighting the serious damage that smoking causes the body. Using computer graphics imagery (CGI), the TV ad shows the flow of dirty blood caused by inhaling the dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, such as the highly toxic poisons arsenic and cyanide. These chemicals enter the bloodstream and cause damage to all of the body’s major organs – including the heart, lungs and brain.

The brain is particularly vulnerable to these toxins, leading to a faster decline in functionality and an increased risk of stroke and dementia. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that smokers are twice as likely to die from a stroke than non-smokers.

“We know about the serious effect smoking has on the heart and lungs but smokers need to be aware of how much potential damage is being done to the brain and other vital organs through toxins in cigarettes entering the blood,” says chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies. “Smoking is the major cause of premature death, with one in two smokers dying prematurely from smoking related diseases, and it is extremely worrying that people still underestimate the health harms associated with it.”

“However, it is not all doom and gloom for smokers looking to quit this New Year,” she adds. “Within five years of stopping smoking, your risk of stroke can be reduced to the same as a lifetime non-smoker.”

Shocking Advertising Campaign

The new Smokefree campaign is being supported by the aforementioned TV advert – click the play button below to watch the YouTube version of it – along with billboards, posters, leaflets and various digital marketing assets.

Search Smokefree Online

The NHS are hoping that if you can see the damage that smoking is causing to your body, you’ll want to stop. That’s why they’ve also set up the free NHS Smokefree website and other resources to help people quit smoking.

NHS Quit Smoking leaflet A5 front

NHS Quit Smoking leaflet A5 back

NHS Quit Smoking poster A4


  1. People need more than just scare tactics to help them, if the government really want people to stop smoking they would offer more help in terms of counselling for smokers rather than spending large amounts of money on extravagant ad campaigns

  2. It’s a dilemma isn’t it? The government gets billions in tax revenue from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco but still want people to give up.
    IMHO – the advertising won’t have much affect. Scare tactics won’t stop the smokers.
    As long as they smoke well away from me and my family I don’t give a hoot.

  3. In my opinion, I don’t think this advert will be very effective as shocking/scaring people to stop smoking will only have a short term effect. They have to want to give because they want to not because someone else wants them to.

  4. If the government really wants to reduce smoking it can start forcing manufacturers to use plain packets to stop the advertising branded packets provide and reduce certain brands “street cred” amongst the young.

  5. My daughter who is 17 smokes we found out about 6 months ago. I wish there was more help and guidance in schools for the young ones, it really scares me that she smokes but at that age I can only advise and guide her 🙁

  6. The problem with this ad is that it’s just not that believable – no one will belie that exactly what is shown will happen on every inhale – they expect it’s been exaggerated

  7. I agree with Jenny S. Scare tactics might deter some smokers/would be smokers, but the smoking in public places ban will lead to many lives saved.

  8. That’s a very clever ad, wish I wasn’t eating at the time lol but I hope it works and saves afew life’s 🙂 x

  9. Rather than an advert that uses scare tactics why not publish some good news stories eg since smoking was banned in public places incidence of cancer has fallen by x?

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