“Give up Smoking” campaign forces smokers to think about their health

The results have been made available of the above advertising campaign, which was promoted by the Moscow City Public Health Committee and launched in the capital on 19 November 2009, the International Day for Giving up Smoking.


ASI bulletin 8.3.2010


Over a period of three months a video clip was broadcast on TV showing black tar being squeezed out of a sponge symbolising a smoker’s lungs, representing a year’s worth of tobacco there. Placards saying ‘The lungs of a smoker are like a sponge full of cancerous tar’ were posted up in the Metro and on the streets of Moscow.


Afterwards the National Centre for Public Opinion Surveys polled smokers. Many respondents could remember the subject of the advertisement without being prompted. Almost all referred to the intense emotional impact and clarity of the graphics. More than a third of those questioned said that the campaign had influenced them towards giving up. These were mainly light smokers, those who had not been smoking long, and young people of 18-24. In a number of cases the advertisements had prompted respondents to try to give up the habit or to persuade others to do so. Around seven per cent had actually given up under the influence of the campaign. It helped to fortify the great majority of those who had already given up in their decision to do so.


One of the deputies (of the city council) said, ‘I think we have managed to get through to our audience’. She thought that the main reason for the increase in smoking in Russia has been aggressive marketing by the tobacco companies directed above all at women and teenagers, presenting cigarettes as a fashion accessory and a sign of stylishness, self-confidence and sexuality. She recalled that every year 350.000 Russians die of smoking-related diseases. Russia occupies first place in the world for teenage smoking and fourth for the level of smoking amongst adults.

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