March 15th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Should smokers be targeted with educational ads?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com 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 CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

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

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Filed under: Health • Overheard on CNN.com • Smoking
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. dan

    Smoking kills: secondhand smoke has been proven to kill others. Cigarettes contain thousands of toxins, poisons and why on earth someone feels they should put that in their mouth and continue on a path to disease and possible death from smoking is beyond comprehension. They way that "civil rights" and "Personal choice" is thrown around, you would think they are discussing something that is of value to society. Whereas smoking has to be the single most stupid form of behavior there can be by one's own choice. Keep your cancer sticks to yourself; please stop and don't smoke around me. Our laws are to protect us, and these ads are protecting many from the dangers of cancer and diseases from smoking.

    March 16, 2012 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Thizz

      I don't care what you say, 2nd hand smoke is no worse than all of the other carcinogens that are polluting our air (ex. car exhaust being the most prevalent). I would really like to know how they figure that 2nd hand smoke was the direct killer and it wasn't a combination of all the carcinogens one may come across. I have a very very very hard time believing that someone will die from getting a couple breathes of 2nd hand smoke every once in a while, considering it takes years for 1st hand smoke to kill a pack a day smoker. Honestly it doesn't make sense.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Doris

      Grand parents are 96, and 92. The been smoking since their early teens. No lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD!
      what happens in these studies is that they pick and choose who they want to allow. They dont tell you that this smoker, has lung cancer, because he has a genetic disposition to cancer. They simply say smoking caused his lung cancer. You can interpret any study to say anything. All second hand smoke studies are flawed, and manipulated to represent the views of those who pay for the study. There have been studies, that ibuprofen, aspirin, and pretty much all non steroidal nsaids cause leaky gut, which leads to severe food allergies, MS, and several other diseases that have no cures. yet people take these everyday And pharma, makes billions.
      Yet nothing is ever said.
      Just as processed food is very unhealthy, candy, saturated fats, cleaning products. Asbestos has been causing cancer for over a 100 years, yet its still made, and still very widely used. Where do we draw the line. This is ridiculous.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Dott

      Thizz ask a child that has been raised in a smoking household how it feels to have asthma. I have grandchildren who are asthmatic simply because they were raised by a smoking mother even though she knows what it did to them she still smokes around them. Is that ever stupid or what.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Roostercrow Cogburn

    Nationwide smoking damages vs. nationwide obesity epidemic damages. Do the math. The numbers are astounding. Smoking has killed his millions, obesity her tens of millions. Abortions kill more than smoking too, btw. Equal laws for governing smoking, eating, and bedrooming.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Roostercrow Cogburn

    @Thizz...I know, huh. It takes years for a 2 oack habit dumpster diving drunk bum to develop lung cancer, but a few wiffs of second hand smoke and they drop like flies. Sound to me like the fix is in. Like global warming mumbo jumbo...imagine the profit to be had fooling 90% of the people. Died of second hand smoke my ass.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    Has anyone ever considered giving away "free" smoking cessations, i.e. patches, chantix etc. Why are all these helpful products so costly? Save the $54M for gross ads and put it towards the cost of these overpriced products.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Francisco

      Thank you! Every smoker knows its bad and wants to quit, but we don't need more "education" – we need help with cessation aids. Anyone here know what the 1 week step one of the Nicotine Patch costs? $50.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Doris

    Grand parents are 96, and 92. The been smoking since their early teens. No lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD!
    what happens in these studies is that they pick and choose who they want to allow. They dont tell you that this smoker, has lung cancer, because he has a genetic disposition to cancer. They simply say smoking caused his lung cancer. You can interpret any study to say anything. All second hand smoke studies are flawed, and manipulated to represent the views of those who pay for the study. There have been studies, that ibuprofen, aspirin, and pretty much all non steroidal nsaids cause leaky gut, which leads to severe food allergies, MS, and several other diseases that have no cures. yet people take these everyday And pharma, makes billions.
    Yet nothing is ever said.
    Just as processed food is very unhealthy, candy, saturated fats, cleaning products. Asbestos has been causing cancer for over a 100 years, yet its still made, and still very widely used. Where do we draw the line. This is ridiculous.
    Sorry for the double post.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Dott

      Ahh how you do protect your little habit. I don't care if you smoke yourself todeath. However, I do hate it when I walk by someone smoking and I get a headache and sick stomach. Florida has outlawed smoking anywhere food is sold and I love it. But I usually have to hold my breath while I walk through all those smokers desperate because they can't smoke for 30 minutes smoking that cancer stick just outside the front door. Smokers are truly disgusting. If the shoe fits wear it!

      March 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sarah

    I think these ads should stop. Smokers and non-smokers alike (including children and teens), knows the effects of what smoking will cause. EVERYONE knows. Being educational again ISN'T going to do anything. Just going to be a waste of money. What you should do, is find a way to make 'stop smoking' enjoyable for smokers. For instance; I smoke because I'm bored. Those e-cigarettes or the e-puffer is an AMAZING invention. It gives us something to hold onto, and something for our sub-conscience minds to relate to. It'll give us something to do when bored instead of smoking a cigarette. For non-smokers or for teens who think 'smoking is bad and cool, so we'll do it too' or 'my parents do it, so I can too!', we should give them the e-cigarette or the e-puffer, bu instead of putting nic in it, we should add water, but make them think it's nic. If children realize that the adults are doing the exact same thing they are, they won't feel as inclined to do so.

    By the way, my whole family (including myself) have smoked for most of our lives. There have been 0 trips to the hospital, 0 cases of cancer or other diseases (other than the mild hypoglycemia). Personally, I am not afraid of cigarettes and I don't personally think they are as bad as they say it is, but I do know it bothers people, and we're personally embarrassed to smoke because of that, so that's why most of us want to quit. Don't bother telling us how bad it is, we already know.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doris

    Perhaps we should show, pictures of grossly obese people at fast food restaurants. With warning signs suggesting it causes cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and severe heart disease, on the fast food menus.
    Or people with severe acne, rotting teeth, and severe obesity on chocolate bars wrappers.
    And horrible cancer picture, obesity, heart disease on all processed food labels.
    Or men with breast, infertility, cancer photos, hives, asthma, dizziness, fainting, and death from anything containing soy. As soy is estrogen, and is very detrimental to men's health. Soy is killing frogs, and preventing their reproduction, because soy has such high levels of the female hormone estrogen, that it actually turns healthy male frogs into female frogs almost over night! Yet its in 70% of the American diet. Look in your cabinets read the labels you won't believe how much food you have that contains soy. From tuna fish, to nearly all breads. Most baby food, and is responsible for the increase hermaphrodite births. But they hide this info from you because it's cheap, easy to grow, and insects won't go near it! Its man made, unnatural.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    I agree w/Scottish Mama! Pay down the national debt w/these $87 million dollars, that wont cause any1 to quit smoking! Smokers know the dangers already & don't need to be hit on the head! We all know the dangers of life! We hop into our "gas bombs" & hurl ouselves down the freeway at 70 mi per hour everyday! Not hearing anything about the dangers of that action! As a childcare provider I was always amazed at the danger the world poses for a toddler! ANYTHING can cause injury or death, but we can't ban sofas, coffetables or slippery rugs! Let adult decide what they want to legaly put in their bodies! Save the $ for something we can all benefit from & I vote for paying down our debt!!

    March 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ed

    All these smokers are trying to divert attention from themselves by talking about obesity. Sure we also need to educate more about the dangers of improper nutrition but also about the dangers of smoking which have been around a lot longer than obesity.
    Our neighbors apartment reeks of smoke every time I walk past his door and yet he has three small children living with him breathing the smoky air every day. One is pre-school and he breathes this polluted air every day. I think this is abuse pain and simple. Downstairs is the apartment of a woman who smoked all her life and is now on oxygen to stay alive. She was removed to the hospital in December and hasn't returned yet. The next door over is an apartment with two older parents, their daughter and 21 year old son. They also have an "OXYGEN-NO SMOKING" sign in their window so I can see all 4 of them out on the patio smoking even though the old man is on oxygen when he is inside.
    There are 11 big casinos here on the Colorado River in S. Nevada and every day they are full of smokers, drinkers and those also trying to rid themselves of our inflated currency.

    March 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dott

    Have you noticed how smokers protect their little cancer stick? That alone should tell you how horribly addictive tobacco is. They will start ranting about acholol and how bad that is for you. True but I don't mind walking by someone drinking while walking by a stinking cigarette smoker is a different story.

    March 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. A Reasoner

    Unlike the other products mentioned, tobacco is the only one which is harmful when used as intended. As a drug delivery system, it should be under the FDA's standards, not the antiquated protection of ATF. It shouldn't be criminalized, but it shouldn't continue to be a sanctioned death and disability industry. Unlike it's victims, the industry will not quietly die, but will strive to survive by replacing them with children. Even if the U.S. were smoke free, the industry would profit well on the addictions its produced in what used to be called third world countries. It is a thoroughly evil industry which deserves no protection.

    March 17, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dott

    I don't care if you smoke yourself to death. Not my problem except when I have to contribute to your care as you lie dying from lung cancer. If you have not tried to quit – just do it.

    March 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AFrazier

    It's a proven fact that the cessation programs currently in use and likely this one will succeed with only dismal results. The quit rate has stalled over the last decade or so and shows no signs of improving. This should tell our health agencies that their 'quit or die' method of getting people to stop smoking simply does not work. In order to get people to quit smoking, our health agencies and our government must embrace something new and unique. Rather than telling people to quit smoking (which most will not wish to do), encourage options to 'switch and quit'. This is a method of moving to reduced risk tobacco products such as Swedish Snus and Electronic Cigarettes. Yes you still get nicotine but what you do not get is the high risk byproduct of inhaling thousands of chemicals via burning tobacco. Both products (as an example) are 98-99% less harmful than smoking and in approximately 60-70% of those who tried the product, successfully quit smoking without even trying. And for those that don't believe it, there IS scientific evidence and peer reviewed studies to back up my claims. I invite CNN to contact me to discuss this further.

    March 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Random me

    I think it's funny all the smokers feel the need to defend themselves by dising fat people. What , are we back in grade school? Anyways there are very few things that won't kill you these days, all processed foods, our water, our air, smoking, drinking, etc all contain toxic chemicals proven to cause cancer , heart disease, impotence, way too much salt in most foods leads to heart problems etc. So spending this much money on an ad campaign like this is silly. However I personally don't like most smokers because they don't have manners. I have mild asthma after a nasty bout of pnumonia and i am so sick of smoke blown in my face, cigarettes littered in my garden and walking out of almost any building and having to walk through a cloud of smoke. If smokers would have the decency to keep their smoke to themselves i wouldn't care what they did.

    March 18, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Raymond

    i'm going to smoke until i die,,,,,,up to this point in my life i have not let this government control what i do,,,,,i am my own person and i'm not going to be someone i'm not for the sake of the government.. i do know the difference between right and wrong and i haven't let my life be controlled,,,,,

    March 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • VAN

      Good for you! I am there with you.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Then you are a moron. Smoking kills. Even if you smoke one cigarette a week, you are killing yourself. If you want a stroke and be forced to lay on your back with painful bed sores then be my guest.

      May 6, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
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