Smoking ads grim but true

New smoking ads show the gruesome consequences of smoking.

Daily Editorial Board

The Center for Disease Control released several highly graphic anti-smoking advertisements this year to counter tobacco use. Some may view the messages as too graphic; however, these advertisements are necessary in order to save lives and prevent the deadly act of smoking. While it is and should be our own choice whether to smoke or not, we must also be aware of the consequences.

The CDC’s advertisements feature ex-smokers who share horrific stories of what can happen to smokers. One is the story of a woman who got throat cancer and had to have a tracheotomy. The woman, Terrie, shares how she gets ready in the morning, which includes putting in her fake teeth and putting on her wig, because she lost her teeth and hair during treatment for cancer. The other advertisements consist of people sharing how to live with a hole in their throat, and one features a child who has been affected by second-hand smoke.

These messages are important and should be a major reality check for many Americans. One in five deaths in the U.S. per year is caused by tobacco use, according to the CDC, and 25 million Americans alive today will die prematurely because of “smoking-related illnesses,” including 5 million under 18 years old. In Minnesota, nearly $3 billion is spent on health care costs because of tobacco-related illnesses, according to numbers from the We All Pay the Price for Tobacco campaign. At the same time, the tobacco industry spends $157 million annually to advertise its products in Minnesota. Tobacco has caused numerous deaths, health problems and heartaches in the family. Smoking’s costs aren’t just financial. We should support the new shocking advertisements because they reveal the truth and consequences of smoking.