Anti-Tobacco Campaign Kicks Off in Hawaii

Dr. Mark Clanton
Dr. Mark Clanton

HONOLULU (KHNL) - In just one year, it's killed the same number of Americans as those who died in the last 100 years of war, and it's easily preventable.

It's tobacco, and a new campaign is trying to convince everyone to live smoke free.

Last year, 400,000 people in the U.S. died from tobacco related illnesses, 1,200 of them are in Hawaii.

This campaign isn't aimed at just those who smoke.

It's a scene that plays out in many households across the island -- but not like this.

"It shows that smoking is really nasty, it's gross, and in the fact that smoking is not a good idea for parents to smoke around their kids, or for kids to be around smoke," said Dr. Mark Clanton, of the American Cancer Society.

This commercial is one of two produced by anti-tobacco groups, encouraging people to live smoke-free. The 14-week campaign launches this week.

"With these commercials, the Clear the Smoke campaign challenges people in Hawaii to think about the effect that tobacco has on the lives of their families, and of themselves," said Dr. Tom Vogt, of the Clear the Smoke campaign.

By showing these real world type situations, these ads target viewers emotions. And the groups know that's the only way they can compete against the big tobacco companies.

In hawaii alone, companies spend more than $42-million a year on advertising.

"So we're competing for the minds and hearts of kids and young adults, and parents as well," said Clanton. "If our message is clear, and our message is repeated, I think we can compete with the big dollars trying to get people to smoke."

The commercials also gives smokers who want to quit, a place to get help. The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline says more than 75-hundred people have called for help since the clear the smoke campaign started in 2004.