An anti-smoking nightmare
I recently wrote about the new anti-smoking ads that were about to be unleashed in Singapore. They made an impact all right: the airing of the TV ad prompted so many complaints from parents about its graphic nature that the Health Promotion Board has promised to air it only after 8 pm (not that I know any school-going children who go to bed by 8 pm).
What constitutes “graphic” in these parents’ books? An advertisement showing a woman suffering from oral cancer, with a diseased tongue, teeth and lips. I haven’t seen the complete TV ad yet, but catching a glimpse of the end of it a couple of nights ago was enough to give me the creeps. I’m not sure that it would necessarily make me quit smoking, if I were a smoker, but I can appreciate why it gave at least one nine-year-old child nightmares (as dutifully reported by Channel NewsAsia).
At the same time, it may not be the image alone that gave the kids something to scream about. By today’s horror-movie standards, the depiction of the cancer victim’s par for the course. But perhaps seeing such an image in the middle of prime-time programming was sufficiently jarring to spook a kid or two. Enough to stop them from experimenting with cigarettes when they get older? We’ll see.