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January 16 2017

New Billboard Detects Cigarette Smoke, Coughs and Scowls at Smokers

Heat Street
Jillian Kay Melchior

A Swedish drugstore is now using inanimate objects to shame smokers, part of its “New Year, New Resolutions” health campaign.

The pharmacy, Apotek Hjärtat, installed a sign in a busy part of Stolkholm, equipping it with smoke detectors. “We placed it here, where people smoke a lot. And every time a smoker passed by… yeah, you get it,” the pharmacy’s YouTube ad says, showing a man coughing and looking disgusted and upset.

The marketing director for Apotek Hjärtat told CNBC he hoped the ad would make people think about living a healthier life, including giving up smoking.

He called it “one of the most cost-effective campaigns I’ve ever made,” noting that it cost less than $32,000 to produce the billboard ad, but that the idea has gained international media attention and about 600,000 views online.

In Sweden, smoking is at a record low, with just 11 percent of the population using cigarettes. Sweden also has one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe.

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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