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. chrissy

    Exactly! People who smoke no the risks! But it is by far the hardest habit to kick. According 2 my Dr, kicking heroin is easier! If you wanta spend all that money do it usefully help them QUIT! And start concentrating on alcohol which kills non drinkers!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    No, they should pay down the debt with it.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    If the feds really wanted to do something to cut the smoking, all they have to do is CUT out all tax breaks for the tobacco industry and all the money that the Government subsidies to the Tobacco farmers. But we all know this will never happen!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    Our endless subsidies and coddling of the tobacco industry makes all this a moot point in a way! How can we openly encourage the growing of a known poisonous, addictive product and yet try to suggest that folks stop using it....what doublespeak. Fact is, very many people here in the rural south still smoke despite it's $ costs and their reply to health concerns is: "Heck, any wussy fool can quit but it takes real guts to handle cancer and heart attacks", so what's to be done? Problem is, most are already on disability, Medicaid and SNAP already! Go figure!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Portland tony

    That $87M could be better spent on educating people on the dangers of eating fast food 7 days a week! Folks still think a Big Mac, fries and maybe a salad is a good nutritious meal. Folks KNOW
    that smoking is not particularly good for your health. That's why they try and/or quit! You never hear someone say 'I'm quitting Burger King'!

    March 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      We are not talking about fast food..there are many things that are not good for us when done in gambling, drinking, over-eating, etc. But putting a known carcinogen in your mouth and exposing others around you to the secondhand smoke doesn't make sense, nor does it make sense to put a known cancer-causing stick in your mouth and continue to jeopardize your life. Stop comparing it to everything else, when cigarettes are a societal problem that needs to be curtailed as much as possible.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    An Isotta-Fraschini Film:

    March 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    @ Bobcat2U:
    Do you smoke?

    March 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Let me assure you my friend, that was not me above. This is the first posting I've done all day.

      March 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    I somehiw do not think that is bc(iah).

    March 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

      Thank you.
      banasy, watching over_______, slumbers not. I also thought it might not be bobcat (iah).

      March 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Slumbers not, nor sleeps.
      Well, yes, I actually do sleep...still one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever had to the honor to perform in Concert Choir.

      You has a very silly impersonater today, yourself.
      They abound....often imitated, but never duplicated. 😉

      March 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kwoods

    Money should be spent educating people of the health risks created by being overweight.
    More people die of health issues related to obesity than from health issues caused by smoking.
    & since Americans will be footing the bill for all those over-eaters, I'd much rather see the obese targeted for reform.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      And the millions of taxpayers dollars that are spent on health care costs for the smokers who are sick and cause others to be sick from their secondhand smoke. The millions of dollars spent on health care costs attributed to smoking are astroomical.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Allison

    By now people should know the negative effects of smoking. But, it does affect the community as a whole. I have to stop by 3 year old from trying to pick cigarette butts off the ground when we go to the park. I get sick and have to use an inhaler for several weeks if I inhale second hand smoke. Someone actually threw a cigarette butt into my baby's stroller while we were walking around a festival. We need harsh littering fines, massive taxation on cigarettes and restricted medical insurance for those who choose to smoke. The community as a whole has to pay for extra clean up, and higher medical premiums because of smokers. Personally, I think parents should be charged with child abuse if they smoke near their children. Smokers hurt the health of everyone around them. No excuses.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      Agree with Allison.....there is nothing more sickening to see than an adult smoker, who CHOOSES to put the cancer stick in his/her mouth, walking along smoking next to their child. Secondhand smoke kills and there is thirdhand smoke...when smokers have the toxins in their hair and clothes and walk into a room or area near non-smokers. It is a disgusting thing to see and smokers need recognize their choice to be filling their lungs with toxins need not be passed along to children or non-smokers near them.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Allison

    This is about smoking, not fat people. If they limit medical coverage for conditions caused by obesity for those people over a certain bmi, problem solved. Or don't let them qualify for group coverage. I am not over weight, but I have friends and family who are. I know their daily struggle, and they do need some alternate motivation other than personal health. But honestly, they know they are fat. They are still going to justify that big Mac to themselves, regardless of public service announcements.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Seamonkey76

    The point of the story is CDC spent $54,000,000 on an AD CAMPAIGN! I am p!ssed that money didn't go to cancer research. Just remember that the next time a loved one dies from breast cancer, leukemia, bone cancer, etc.

    The cleanest air in the world, currently, goes to British Columbia....why? (sorry, it's not approving the link)

    "The list is intended to highlight the need to reduce outdoor air pollution, which is estimated to cause 1.34 million premature deaths each year. The study focused on the prevalence of PM10 particles, which are particles of 10 micrometers or less that can penetrate the lungs and may enter the bloodstream. The tiny particles can cause respiratory problems and other diseases in humans, including heart disease, lung cancer and asthma. WHO Director for Public Health and Environment, said in a release. The organization said investments to lower pollution levels quickly pay off due to lower disease rates and health-care costs. Most countries that ranked well benefit from lower population density, favourable climates and stricter air pollution regulation — conditions unavailable to those at the bottom of the list. "Across the world, city air is often thick with exhaust fumes, factory smoke or soot from coal-burning power plants. In many countries there are no air quality regulations and, where they do exist, national standards and their enforcement vary markedly," Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health and Environment, said in a release. The organization said investments to lower pollution levels quickly pay off due to lower disease rates and health-care costs."

    March 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    should smokers be targeted with educational ads?! what kind of question is that? smokers can't be educated? or it would hurt them somehow?

    there are life-threatening things all over and people choose to do them all the time.. the beauty is we don't *have* to understand it. it's what they do.

    i didn't finish college, but i know i'm more educated than many non-smokers..

    March 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leeintulsa

    should smokers be targeted with educational ads?! what kind of question is that? smokers can't be educated? or it would hurt them somehow?

    there are life-threatening things all over and people choose to do them all the time.. the beauty is we don't *have* to understand it. it's what they do.

    i didn't finish college, but i know i'm more educated than many non-smokers..and you haters? quitting is easy, i've done it a hundred times. i want to quit. i have for streches of time. it's staying quit when crises happen.. and since the economy tanked, every crisis has been a roof or no roof crisis. ironicly, there'd be more money for such things without cigarettes.. i handle crises better as a smoker, especially where innocents, my children, are involved..

    March 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kim

    Now if they put this much effort into drugs and the violence it creates for innocent people also do some ads to prevent stalking and other criminal activity that effect many people in horrible way smoking a cigarette is a personal problem not a great habit but I can think of a lot worst things to waste advertising on.

    March 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
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