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June, 2012:

The best anti-smoking ad you’ll ever see – Hong Kong (and the world) should copy the idea using local child actors

As a rule, smokers don’t like to be lectured. So how do you create yet one more anti-smoking campaign that might actually make smokers think?

Use that perfect tool of manipulation: children. A fascinating ad from Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok failed to grab a prize at the Cannes advertising festival last week, though it did end up on the shortlist for the Promo & Activation category, and has caught some viral attention online.  Sadly the Thai Health Promotion Foundation chose an advertising agency that has and continues to earn money from Big Tobacco and the YouTube video was pulled after a brief appearance – but Clear the Air has it on our website. (you will need Real player to view the video]

In the video, cherub-faced kids walk up to smokers on the streets of Thailand holding cigarettes in their tiny fingers and asking for a light. The smokers refuse, explaining to the kids why smoking is bad for them. After listening patiently to each lecture, the child would hand the smoker a folded-up note and walk away.

“You worry about me. But why not about yourself?” the note read. It then gave the number of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s hotline to help smokers quit.

An extreme rarity for such street campaigns, most of the adults did not throw away the brochures they were handed.

According to the agency, phone calls from smokers went up 40 per cent in the wake of the campaign.

The vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group, Rory Sutherland, spoke publicly about the way consumers’ brains make decisions. One of the points he likes to make is that a message has a much higher chance of getting through if delivered in the proper context. In an interview last month, he described one of his favourite campaigns from the global network in the past year – and it demonstrated a similar contextual intervention that the Thai anti-smoking campaign does.

“One of the first rules that you learn from brain science is that we make decisions contextually,” Mr. Sutherland said.

Op-Ed The best anti-smoking ad you’ll ever see

A jab to quit smoking: ‘DNA vaccine’ will halt nicotine cravings and could even be used to stop children starting the habit

An injection of genes that make antibodies against nicotine could help millions of smokers kick the habit, scientists believe.

Just one jab could provide life-long protection against nicotine cravings and it could eventually be used to vaccinate children to stop them ever getting hooked.

The ‘genetic vaccine’ has so far been tested only on mice, but research involving people could begin in as little as two years.

The jab contains genes ‘programmed’ to make antibodies that neutralise nicotine before it reaches the brain, where it would normally trigger the pleasurable feelings that underlie addiction.

The theory is that if smokers no longer get such gratification from cigarettes, they will find it easier to quit.

The jab being developed at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York tricks the liver into continuously making antibodies, ensuring there are always some in the blood to fight nicotine.

When vaccinated mice were given nicotine, the antibodies cut the amount that made its way to the brain by 85 per cent, with no effect on their behaviour, blood pressure or heart rate, reports the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Most smokers who try to quit light up again within six months, but lead researcher Dr Ronald Crystal said: ‘This novel vaccine may offer a much-needed solution.’

The research is still at an early stage and the need for large-scale studies means the jab is at least five years from the market.

If it proved to be safe and effective, it could eventually be included in school vaccination programmes to stop youngsters from ever starting to smoke, said Dr Crystal.

Quitting while you're ahead: Just a single jab could remove all cravings, although the treatment is controversialQuitting while you’re ahead: Just a single jab could remove all cravings, although the treatment is controversial

Darren Griffin, professor of genetics at Kent University, said the study had ‘great potential’, but warned that what worked in mice did not always work in man.

Prof Anthony Dayan, a retired toxicologist, said: ‘Nicotine addiction via smoking is harmful, but is it ethical to produce a major and enduring change in someone’s body to prevent it when other, less major, types of treatment are feasible?’

Around a fifth of Britons smoke, with most starting while still in their teens. Previous studies have shown that existing treatments, from counselling to pills, are of little benefit, with up to 80 per cent smoking again within six months.

Read more:

‘Smoking vaccine’ blocks nicotine in mice brains

Smokers could one day be immunised against nicotine so they gain no pleasure from the habit, according to researchers in the US.

They have devised a vaccine that floods the body with an antibody to assault nicotine entering the body.

A study in mice, published in Science Translational Medicine, showed levels of the chemical in the brain were reduced by 85% after vaccination.

Years of research are still needed before it could be tested on people.

However, lead researcher Prof Ronald Crystal is convinced there will be benefits.

“As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pacman-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect.”

New approachOther “smoking vaccines” have been developed that train the immune system to produce antibodies that bind to nicotine – it is the same method used to vaccinate against diseases. The challenge has been to produce enough antibodies to stop the drug entering the brain and delivering its pleasurable hit.

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have used a completely different approach, a gene-therapy vaccine, which they say is more promising.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

If they start smoking again, they will receive no pleasure from it due to the nicotine vaccine, and that can help them kick the habit”

Prof Ronald CrystalWeill Cornell Medical College

A genetically modified virus containing the instructions for making nicotine antibodies is used to infect the liver. This turns the organ into a factory producing the antibodies.

The research team compared the amount of nicotine in the brains of normal mice with those that had been immunised. After being injected with nicotine, the vaccinated mice had nicotine levels 85% lower.

It is not known if this could be repeated in humans or if this level of reduction would be enough to help people quit.

Prof Crystal said that if such a vaccine could be developed then people “will know if they start smoking again, they will receive no pleasure from it due to the nicotine vaccine, and that can help them kick the habit”.

He added: “We are very hopeful that this kind of vaccine strategy can finally help the millions of smokers who have tried to stop, exhausting all the methods on the market today, but find their nicotine addiction to be strong enough to overcome these current approaches.”

‘Impressive and intriguing’There are also issues around the safety of gene therapy in humans that will need to be answered.

Professor of genetics at the University of Kent, Darren Griffin, said the findings were “impressive and intriguing with great potential” but cautioned there were still many issues which needed addressing.

He said the main issue “is whether the observed biochemical effects in lab mice genuinely translate to a reduced addiction in humans given that such addictions can be both physical and psychological”.

Dr Simon Waddington, from University College London, said: “The technology underpinning gene therapy is improving all the time and it is encouraging to see these preliminary results that indicate it could be used to address nicotine addiction, which is damaging to the nation’s health and a drain on the health service economy.”

If such a vaccine was developed it could also raise ethical questions about vaccinating people, possibly in childhood, before they even started smoking.

More on This Story

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UK Health: Drop in smoking would save £27 million

Reducing smoking levels by just one per cent would save the NHS almost 27 million pounds, figures out today have shown.

There would also be 539 fewer deaths and 2,320 fewer hospital admissions, according to new figures on the Scottish Public Health Observatory website today.

Recent figures also show that there was a 29 per cent increase in 2011 in the number of people trying to stop smoking with the help of NHS smoking cessation services.

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said: “Giving up smoking is the single biggest thing anyone can do to improve their health, and these figures show just how big an impact on lives, hospital admissions and the cost to the NHS even a small decrease in the numbers of smokers in Scotland would have.

“It shows we are absolutely right to focus on smoking cessation, spending 14 million pounds a year on supporting people to kick the habit. All NHS boards are currently working to deliver a smoking cessation target which has a focus on achieving quits with their most deprived communities.

“These figures help to identify the wider benefit to Scotland’s health by reducing the number of people smoking. Not only do people lead longer and healthier lives, but the NHS saves money by not having to treat so many smoking-related illnesses.”

Ad deconstructed: The ‘Smoking Kid’

June 25, 2012 6:53 pm

No smoking advert for public image

Client: Thai Health Promotion Foundation; Agency: Ogilvy & Mather; Territory: Thailand; 4/5

It has been described as the “world’s cleverest anti-smoking ad”. In the annals of why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments for creative directors, the online ad created by Ogilvy & Mather for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation is brilliant in its simplicity.

It opens with Thai adults taking a cigarette break. Cut to our heroes: two cute children (aged seven and 10) brandishing their own cigarettes.

Each child approaches a group of adults and asks them for a light. The smokers, visibly shocked, admonish them that “smoking is bad for you”.

Each child responds: “So why are you smoking?” before proffering a folded note and walking away. A close-up shows the note says: “You worry about me but why not about yourself?”, above a “quit smoking” hotline number.

The ad has gone viral, and the agency says calls to the hotline have increased by 40 per cent in the weeks after the launch of the online ad.

The ad succeeds because viewers are as shocked as the adult smokers at children wanting to light up. But it also works because it inadvertently taps into the country’s recent push to get Thais healthier.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012. You may share using our article tools.
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1.      dynamco | June 27 3:47pm | Permalink

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sadly you are too slow
a great idea went viral, then they quickly pulled the Youtube video
They, I presume is the ad company, which earns more from Big Tobacco than it earns from a Thai Health Authority.
meanwhile health authorities should get the like message and make the like ads in their own countries. Power to the Children.

Peer: Tobacco industry treated ‘shabbily’

A Conservative peer has accused the government of treating the tobacco industry “shabbily”.

At question time on 19 June 2012, Lord Naseby tabled a question asking ministers whether they would meet representatives of non-governmental organisations, the tobacco industry and retailers to discuss policy options aimed at curbing tobacco consumption, such as banning smoking in cars or ensuring that cigarettes are sold in plain packets.

Health Minister Earl Howe responded that Article 5.3 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control “requires the government to protect the development of public health policies from the vested and commercial interests of the tobacco industry”.

Lord Naseby asked: “How is it possible that, in a country that believes in freedom of speech, a highly regulated and legitimate industry employing thousands of people, providing millions of pounds of revenue for Her Majesty’s government, can be treated quite so shabbily?”

Earl Howe said that the government welcomed input from industry and retailers but health ministers would only have reason to meet them if there was a specific matter for discussion, rather than general tobacco-control policies.

Lord Naseby did not receive much support for his comments from his fellow peers.

Shadow health spokesman Lord Hunt of Kings Heath urged the minister to “continue his efforts to keep these companies at some distance”, as tobacco had been described by the World Health Organisation as “proven scientifically to be addictive [and] to cause disease and death”.

Earl Howe agreed that “there is no safe level of smoking” but insisted that ministers do not “close our ears to what the tobacco industry has to say”.

Independent Labour peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon accused ministers of hypocrisy for not meeting “their tax gatherers” and said that if the government really believed tobacco was so harmful they would ban it.

Liberal Democrat Lord Rennard said the tobacco industry was responsible for the deaths of 300 of their own consumers in the UK each day, and accused manufacturers of having known of the dangers of smoking but denying them for many decades.

Other questions were on the Trident replacement programme, business regulation, and visa applications to the United Kingdom from Africa.

How are they going to manage that? Vietnamese government passes new law to ban its chain-smoking citizens in all public places

By Matt Blake

PUBLISHED:15:26 GMT, 21 June 2012 | UPDATED:08:30 GMT, 22 June 2012

The Vietnamese government has issued a blanket ban on smoking in public places to replace old rules that have been completely ignored.

The new law will also outlaw advertising tobacco products as well as the sale of tobacco products to those under 18 – something that has not been stipulated in Vietnam’s laws before.

It is intended to beef up widely ignored rules enacted in 2010 that banned lighting up in public areas – including schools, hospitals, office buildings and on public transport.

Blanket ban: A man smokes a cigarette outside a temple's wall murals in Hue. The new law will also outlaw advertising tobacco products as well as the sale of tobacco products to those under 18

Blanket ban: A man smokes a cigarette outside a temple’s wall murals in Hue. The new law will also outlaw advertising tobacco products as well as the sale of tobacco products to those under 18

Despite the current legislation, bars and kiosks have continued to sell cigarettes on almost every street corner in capital Hanoi.

The new law was passed by 440 out of 468 national assembly deputies on Monday and will come into effect in May next year.

Flouting the law would incur heavy on-the-spot fines.

According to The anti-smoking campaign group Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), there are currently 15.3 million smokers in Vietnam. About 47.4 per cent of adult males smoke.


Tobacco kills 40,000 people per year in Vietnam and that figure is expected to rise to 70,000 per year by 2030, according to local media reports.

SEATCA welcomed the new law – the full text of which has not yet been released – saying it was a ‘historic and important milestone’ for the country.

‘We are very happy about this development,’ SEATCA director Bungon Ritthiphakdee said, adding that the final version of the law was strong and in line with the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Thai Health Promotion Foundation

it is illegal to smoke in bars in Thailand

so this evening  in Crown Royal  pub I poured a beer on a lit tobacco product that was ignited next to me

Stop smoking – Twin 1 – YouTube

YouTube – Videos from this email

Smoking bans are not enforced


I refer to the letter by Peter Wong Sze-chai (“Introduce tobacco-free HK in phases”, June 18).

It may have escaped his attention, but we already have piecemeal non-smoking areas, and designated areas for smokers, including a smoking ban in shopping malls, restaurants and bars, some public transport interchanges, and parks.

What is lacking is effective enforcement. Arrogant smokers flout the law and become abusive when asked to stop.

First, the Tobacco Control Office should start frequent, random undercover inspections of no-smoking zones, issuing fines to offenders.

Second, management companies and bar owners should be made responsible for illegal smoking on their premises.

Illegal smokers will soon show greater respect for the law when there is a high probability of being fined.

Allan Dyer, Wong Chuk Hang