March 15th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Overheard on Should smokers be targeted with educational ads?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

A federal campaign called "Tips from Former Smokers" is intended to educate Americans about the dangers of smoking. Readers talked about the ads, and they talked about smoking and other health issues.

CDC unveils graphic ads to combat smoking

Some debated whether smoking or obesity should be bigger health concerns.

trncell: "So when is the CDC going to put graphic pictures of open heart surgery on the doors of fast food restaurants? #1 killer in America: Heart disease. Your daily reminder."

iBod: "Heart Disease is often a result of smoking, as well, don't forget.....Not just the intake of food your body is already evolved to digest. That's not to say fast food is not a problem–it is for those who eat it maybe once or twice a week, every week of every year of their life. Smoking has a far greater impact on heart disease than fast food.

This reader said people are unfair to smokers.

KiM3695: "I am so sick of people and companies singling out cigarette smoking. Why not do some graphic ads about drinking? It's worse than smoking. Or put some ads out about fattening foods, since our country is the most overweight in the world. I am sick of this firestorm on adult tobacco users. Cigarettes are legal, people need to get over that."

But another wondered why people don't stop.

golfman72: "Look everyone knows what happens when you continue to smoke, yet many still do. If those who continue to smoke then they will surely die, and there is NOTHING you can do to stop them, it all comes down to ones choice. Why continue to spend money on this to change people? NO ONE CAN CHANGE ANOTHER, only YOU can change yourself!"

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Health • Overheard on • Smoking
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. upstateBill

    Kids love the gore, the only ones that don't like the ads are older people. They are introducing smoking to kids by getting their attention with these ads. Kids don't thinks about dying they think that they are invincible. they love the movies with the most blood and gore. If you want to get more kids smoking keep running the ads. The kids I know keep looking for the ads they enjoy them.

    March 19, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. SeaMonkey76

    I'm really sick of the "MY tax dollars paying for smokers health care" rant. It's a juvenile argument. In your bubble world, are all smokers welfare recipients collecting government assistance? Last time I looked smokers worked and paid taxes too. Seems like they pay even more. Their choice. So you say all the smokers call in sick all the time because of their illnesses, in my office it's all the 20 something nit wits who partied too hard the night before. Are you worried there won't be any Medicaid or Medicare to pay for YOUR Lark Scooter, hip replacement surgery, Alzheimer's care? Do smokers actually come up to you & blow smoke in your face? I personally have never had that done to me. If I'm standing downwind and catch a whiff, I simply move a couple steps over. Or do you just not like the odor? There are LOTS of offensive odors & since we're all going to die someday, it's none of my concern what someone else is doing to themselves. & thank you CDC for just wasting $54,000,000 on an ad campaign instead of research. I can teach my own children the dangers of smoking without government intrusion.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • VAN

      I pay for my own health care. I pay my taxes, and pay a lot more taxes on cigarettes than those who drink. More deaths occur per year from drunk drivers than who die from smoking. There are more deaths per year from kidney failure, or liver failure than die of cigarette smoking. They want to stop kids from smoking, where are the ads to stop kids from drinking? They will do what ever they can get by with, just like we did as kids. Get off the backs of smokers, we pay for them, it is our life and our body...........People are so stupid. We eat things everyday that is harmful to our bodies, we use chemcials in our homes that is more harmful. We breath the nasty air everyday. We wear clothes that are made in Vietnam where Agent Orange is still in the water, and soil. We buy products made in China......really people? And smoking is killing us..........NOT!

      March 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      You've never had smoke blown in your face? Really? Would you even notice if someone did? Have you ever noticed how you start puffing like a maniac to get the last of your cigarette right before you put it in the ashtray and you walk through the door at the grocery store? You know how many non-smokers have had to walk through the wall of smoke you created? Your reaction is: Get over it, its legal. My hope is that you have to pay extra for health insurance. Not just because you people need twice as much medical care when you die. But because I don't like you, and the selfish people like you.. However the government can stick it to you, it has my full support.

      March 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sally

    First off, the only people paying for those ads are the smokers themselves. Cigarettes have taxes added on to them to pay for anti smoking ads. It was part of the same settlement that made cigarette companies put those warnings on the packs. Secondly, despite all of the smokers on here saying that smoking is not nearly as harmful as alcohol, fast food, etc. – um, the smoke is fulll of all sorts of toxins. You are free to suck that crap into your own lungs, but not around me. The trouble with your argument is you are only huring yourself when you have those other vices. It is illegal to drink and drive, where it can harm others. But somehow you think it is OK to force cancer or heart disease onto me so you can continue to smoke? As for the person who was complaining that he was going to keep smoking because he didn't want the gov't to tell him what to do....Wow, talk about juvinile! Do you cry and walk out when your mom tells you to clean your room, too? You should quit for yourself and your own health. If you are smoking to spite the gov't, then you have way too many emotional problems to ever actually succeed at quitting smoking.

    March 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lucy

    I use to smoke for over ten years, quit on my own (not because the government wanted me to but because I couldn't afford the 10 bucks a pack anymore). I have always despised these ads. I saw the warnings every single time I lit up. "Smoking does this, smoking does that" Didn't stop me from doing and truthfully I would probably still be doing it if they were still 3 bucks a pack. These campaigns are a waste of money. If you can afford to smoke, you are going to, and not one nasty ad of someones lungs is going to stop you. I agree, however, that we need to think about maybe increasing the tax on alcohol. Lets show alcoholism at its worse. Someone drunk coming home and beating the hell out of their kids, or driving into a person on bike killing them instantly. Last time I checked, the only person that gets hurt by over eating or the person doing. But Alcohol, no that hurts anyone who happens to be in the persons path.

    March 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anon

    I smoked for almost 10 years. I'll be quit 3 years next month. I just have to say that if you have never smoked, you just don't understand. I will NEVER criticize someone for smoking; the worst ones out there are the ones that quit and jump up on a mile high horse afterwards. Quitting is not easy. I don't why people think that education or these ads will change anything. ATTN: NON-SMOKERS – smokers know that smoking kills you, is bad for you, smells bad to non-smokers (still smells like dinner to me 🙂 ), etc. etc. etc...The reason people don't quit is psychological...the nicotine withdrawal is over after a few days, but the psychological aspect lingers and lingers. Believe me, 3 years later and although the cravings have in fact diminished, they have in NO way dissapeared, and I'm starting to think they never will. If you have never smoked, do yourself a favor, DON'T!!! But if you already do, I understand where you're coming from and wish you the best with quitting...IF you want to. I agree with many others here that the money should totally be spent on other purposes. Television ads are expensive, and what a waste of money. And above all, please stop shaming people for something you just don't understand...really, it's their choice.

    March 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SeaMonkey76

    Hmmmm....someone keeps removing my comments. A valid argument would suffice. I can do this all day!

    I moved from a town with a population of just over 300 to a city of over 500,000 and my first summer here I remember walking outside & not one cloud in the sky but it still seemed to be overcast. When I made the comment of how weird the weather was I was laughed at and reminded it was good ol SMOG! Harmful toxins (pollutants) released into the air by automobiles, factories....over population is a greater factor contributing to respiratory illnesses than second hand smoke. Pollution has been linked to over 1,340,000 premature deaths each year. Will smoking kill you, absolutely, whether you're smoking a good ol chemical laced Marlboro or a 100% additive free American Spirit but, I really don't think we'll see a decline in these illnesses until oil companies are out of the picture. & for the argument of it's illegal to drink & drive......ummmm, still happens.......all of the time! And you're right Sally about smoker's tax being used to fund this ad campaign.
    Tax collected from tobacco should also be going towards:
    Tobacco-related health education programs and disease research. Medical and hospital care and treatment of patients who cannot afford those services, and for whom payment will not be made by any private coverage or federal program. Programs for fire prevention; environmental conservation; protection, restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of fish, waterfowl, and wildlife habitat areas; and enhancement of state and local parks and recreation.

    Again.....$54,000,000 is A LOT to go towards gross pictures telling us what we already know. They couldn't have spent $1,000,000 in marketing & $53,000,000 in cancer research to benefit us all? Capitalism is alive and well! Kudo's to the marketing firm who landed that government contract. & it doesn't appear that non smokers tax dollars are paying for any smoker's health care needs. Hmmmmm, now I wonder if my tax dollars are paying for liver transplants?

    March 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SeaMonkey76

    Thank you Sally for pointing out where the tax dollars came from to fund this program. I looked into my states Board of Equalization site to find out exactly how tobacco tax is to be allocated.
    How are the revenues used?

    Ten cents of the cigarette tax is deposited into the state’s General Fund and two cents per package goes into the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Twenty-five cents (Proposition 99, November 1988) of the cigarette and tobacco products surtax is used for the following purposes:
    Tobacco-related health education programs and disease research.
    Medical and hospital care and treatment of patients who cannot afford those services, and for whom payment will not be made by any private coverage or federal program.
    Programs for fire prevention; environmental conservation; protection, restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of fish, waterfowl, and wildlife habitat areas; and enhancement of state and local parks and recreation.
    Fifty-cents (Proposition 10, November 1998) of the cigarette and tobacco products surtax is used for programs that encourage proper childhood development, including the development of professional and parental education and training, informed selection of childcare, development and education of childcare providers, and research into the best practices and standards for all programs and services relating to early childhood development.

    Since these taxes are already used to cover smoker's "Medical and hospital care and treatment of patients who cannot afford those services, and for whom payment will not be made by any private coverage or federal program." How on Earth are insurance companies legally allowed to charge a premium for health care coverage on smoker's? Do they actually do that? Or are they just talking about it?

    March 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeremy

    It's the fact that smoking kills OTHERS is why our government is making such a big deal about it. 2nd hand smoking is terrible. That's why so many states are outlawing smoking in public places. I feel the same way about fast food, drinking, and smoking. Yes, there should be awareness so that we can prevent it, but ultimately, it is your own choice to choose your own death.

    March 20, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • SeaMonkey76

      I do not believe for one second outside second hand smoke is what's killing OTHERS. It's socially unacceptable, that's why government has placed bans in public places. So if the few who do currently smoke die off or all quit, do you honestly believe these illnesses will go away? We would have entire generations wiped out from nothing other than smoking related illnesses.

      March 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MichaelHuntEsq

    You should be ashamed of yourself for featuring iBod's comments on your blog. This person is clueless.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
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