My complaint to the ASA reads as follows :
I am writing to complain about the horendous latest anti-smoking advert that shows a smoker getting beaten half to death.
I am a lifelong smoker from the age of 8 to 50 and no doubt one of the hardened smokers the Birmingham PCT says it is targetting with this video. This sort of anti-smoking propaganda will only serve to infuriate, frighten or further isolate smokers.
However, that said, my specific objections to this particular video are as follows :
The smoker in the video isn’t beating himself up, someone else is even if the assailant is invisible. The only cause for those sort of injuries is physical violence. I do know the risks associated with smoking but I’ve never had a black eye yet!
If the smoker in this video was sitting in his own armchair at home, instead of walking down the street to an isolated place, where so many smokers have to go these days, then I might accept the message as the Birmingham PCT says it intended.
However, there is a moment at the beginning of the video when the smoker passes someone,immediately before the violence starts, which introduces the idea of a second person being involved.
We know that since the divisive public smoking ban, there have been many instances of attacks on smokers by anti-smokers and vice versa. This sort of Govt backed violent propaganda against smokers gives the wrong signals and is not helpful in the health debate.
A copy of this complaint has also been sent to the Birimhgham PCT. I believe – intentionally or not – this video will incite smoke haters to violence.
If anyone agrees with me, then I would also urge you to put in a complaint.
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