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Image for Teenage oral sex anti-smoking campaign shocks France

Teenage oral sex anti-smoking campaign shocks France

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Translation by:

Alison Frank


The French non-smokers' rights association has created a series of ads equating tobacco addiction with sexual submission; controversy led to the ads being pulled. But it’s not the first time that an anti-smoking campaign has made people talk. Here is a selection of anti-smoking ads: shocking, hilarious, ironic, or just plain weird

France: oral sex ads

'Make tobacco companies happy: keep smoking' runs the byline of one the latest controversial ads from the NSR ('Dnf') campaign. Using a cigarette as a phallic symbol, the image brims with connotations which cannot fail to catch people’s attention and incite debate. Then again, isn’t that the whole point of a public awareness campaign? A purported 40% of 12 t0 25-year-olds smoke in France. Verdict: questionable but memorable

France: oral sex ads (II)

'Smoking means being a slave to tobacco' runs another byline to this image in the same NSR campaign, created by the BDDP & Fils advertising agency. The smoking ban was introduced in France in February 2007

Video from the NSR campaign

What do we do with toxic waste? Easy: stick it in cigarettes. The video may not be as shocking or controversial as the previous images, but it has just as much impact. In the ad, which can be viewed on Youtube, boardroom executives discuss ways to deal with toxic waste. ‘Make people swallow it!’ suggests one bright star: ‘turn it into a fad: get them to start young, and not only will they consume small amounts of these chemicals every day, they’ll pay for it!’

Britain: 2008

UK smokers will be pleased to hear that these images are going to appear on their cigarette packets; graphic warnings became a legal requirement from October 2009. The smoking ban was introduced in England in July 2007. The first person in the country to be imprisoned for flouting the ban - a pub landlord from Bolton - was sentenced on 27 February 2010. Verdict: gory

Britain (II)

Another UK anti-smoking campaign from the royal castle lung cancer foundation. A child with an adult’s arm holds a cigarette: a strong message against passive smoking. The poster says that second hand smoke hospitalises 17, 000 children a year. Verdict: thought-provoking

Portugal (2005)

This is a somewhat less powerful image: it could almost be an ad for aftershave. According to this message, smoking is worse than spitting. Almost a quarter of the population were smoking until the January 2008 ban. Verdict: unsure

Portugal (II)

A slightly better image from the Portugese campaign; is smoking worse than going to the toilet in public? Verdict: ...

A poster for 'World No Tobacco Day', held annually on 31 May. Its message couldn’t be clearer: 'smoking causes premature ageing'. Verdict: effective

France (2007)

A bizarre campaign to suggest that kissing a smoker is like kissing an animal. What I want to know is who did that dog’s hair? Verdict: weird


The EU launched its own anti-smoking campaign a little while ago. Its predictably economical message is limited to a single word, printed under the cigarette filter: STOP. It appears that the EU also wants to put the brakes on creativity. Verdict: dull

Italy (2009)

In December 2009 the Italian government presented the nation with this appalling present. I heard that Father Christmas himself took up smoking after he saw this ad, and smokers’ groups danced in the streets. The ad features veteran Italian comic actor Renato Pozzetto complete with his slogan 'Taac!' Verdict: cheesy

Translated from Una campagna antifumo sciocca la Francia. Ma quante ne abbiamo visto...