Thursday, March 13, 2008

They Think You're a Loser

What is with the anti-smoking spots with the tag line "You can’t rely on cold turkey alone"? That is so negative! If you're not familiar with these ads, they run in Washington State. I don't know if similar ads are used elsewhere.

Here's what the ads are really saying...

  • You're an addict.
  • You're a loser.
  • You can't possibly do it yourself.
  • You need us.
If I was a smoker, that would make me feel just super. It reminds me of all the religious "twelve step" programs where step 1 is essentially "I admit I am powerless" or "I admit I cannot help myself." Yeah, that's the way to motivate people to take control of their lives!

The web site that the anti-smoking spots link to (which I will not link to here) says "You can't rely on cold turkey alone! To successfully quit smoking or using other tobacco products, it is important to make a plan." Elsewhere, it says "Make a plan. Double your chances of quitting." Well, which is it? Nobody can rely on cold turkey? Zero doubled is still zero, so that can't be true. Clearly some people can quit cold turkey and I know of plenty of people who have and never smoked again.

Here's what they should be saying...
  • If you want to quit smoking, quitting cold turkey is hard.
  • There's no shame in asking for help.
  • We want to help you.
The program (paid for by us taxpayers) may be great, but their ads do them a disservice.