Ranking the cheesiest anti-cigarette ads that’ll make you want to leave the smoking area and never come back
Smoking is bad because a purple alien said so x
For moral reasons, I’m going to start by saying smoking is definitely bad for you and you generally shouldn’t do it. Anyway, when I’m in the smoking area sharing a cig with a random middle-aged woman who won’t stop talking about all the amazing sex she has with her banker husband, the furthest thing from my mind is all those anti-cigarette adverts from back in the day which tried to discourage the *youth* from inhaling the devil’s grindings.
You know exactly the type – short clips they used to show us in PSHE which would either cringe you out or scar you for life. The ones where you can see the fat building up in an 18-year-old’s arteries while some Horrible Histories-esque dad band would sing something like “stop smoking, start living” in the background.
They’re always awful, but somehow so memorable. So strap yourselves in, because it’s time to rank the cheesiest anti-cig ads from somewhat effective to actual, literal, full-body cringe.
Jungle Book – 3/10
Okay, own up. Which one of you gave the four-year-old a cig and a pint?
Effectiveness: Drives the message home a bit harder than some of the ads you’re about to see. But the Disney music coupled with the cute kids and pretend smoking just gives me John Lewis Christmas ad vibes. I’m thinking too much about which potted plant to put on my mum’s gift list and not enough about whether my future kid will develop a deadly vice. Poor effort. 1/10
Cringe factor: I’m so ambivalent towards this anti-cigarette advert that I can’t even muster up a crumb of cringe. The kid isn’t even smoking – just chewing on a pen. 2/10
Blue Sticks – 6/10
This is pretty much the most Scottish thing I’ve ever seen. Introduced the phrase “this tastes BOGGIN” to my year nine vocabulary.
Effectiveness: Probably a good one to warn 13-year-olds away from sin sticks – but it doesn’t actually go into how they can potentially harm your body, just makes them look like they taste shitty. Kind of think the blue sticks look like blueberry bootlaces and I want to try them. 2/10
Cringe factor: The cartoon characters are very cute and the bored-sounding American narrator gives it all a bit of a Big Lez/Robot Chicken feel. Feeling full-body waves of embarrassment at “really cool beans”, however. 5/10
Accidents – 6/10
Woman smokes the cursed tobacco tube then dies.
Effectiveness: The moral of the story is… I don’t actually know. It gets lost along a lengthy and winding path to the so-called shock ending – and the Miranda-style slapstick doesn’t help either. If you smoke one cigarette you’ll – what? Accidentally stick your hand on the hob? Fall out the window? Find yourself on a date with a mediocre man who has a penchant for cheesy samba music?
Cringe factor – This anti-cigarette advert is a multi-layered Babushka of cringe, make no mistake. At first I’m simply embarrassed because the premise is shitty and makes no sense, then I’m disgusted because I can see a close-up of a woman who just fell out of a window. Was I supposed to laugh? I feel NOTHING.
Mysteries of the Universe – 7.5/10
NHS Scotland has reportedly been rushed to hospital for carrying this entire list on their back!!!
Effectiveness: Not at all foreboding and nowhere near iconic enough to drive the point home through replays. The cyclops-alien-type-thing is grating – I could probably put on a more convincing American accent. Mid-2000s CBBC-style camera cuts are the main saving grace, however – and I found the unfit 12-year-olds thoroughly relatable. 2/10
Cringe factor: Annoying alien, forgettable message and the man being turned off by a woman because she smokes (sorry, Mark Darcy) each contribute to the mid-scoring cringe level. Do better next time. 5.5/10
Fatty Cigarettes – 9/10
Effectiveness: Finally, some good fucking food! Lard dripping from a cigarette butt, a dead man’s heart valve, bootcut jeans, the posh guy from Vigil. I suddenly want to lecture every single person in the smoking area about fatty build-up while sipping from my lager and eating a doner kebab. 6/10
Cringe factor: The cringiest thing about this ad is seeing the globules of yellow fatty buildup falling onto people’s laps. Also the sudden cut to an actual organ. Yikes. 3/10
Hooked – 9.5/10
@nostalgiapill #nhs #quit #hooked #health #throwback #nostalgia #2007 #memories #forgotten #uktv #ukads #advertisment #fypシ #foryoupage #tvad #fypage ♬ original sound – Unlocking Memories
This one always makes me want to bathe in lip balm.
Effectiveness: I mean, more than anything it makes me want to check all smoking areas for vengeful fishermen. The message is loud and clear – don’t get hooked on smoking. It’s graphic, it’s visceral and it looks painful. 7/10
Cringe factor: I physically can’t watch it – even for the purposes of this highly informational article. I can’t do it. I once split my lip open and it brings back memories of that. It isn’t *cringe* per se, but I’m still not prepared to put myself through it. 3/10
Stinx – 10/10
@thebaldestbitch the lyrics the name, it’s everything #stinx #girlband #ukcomedy #britishhumour #scotland #2000 #2000s #advert #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – TheBaldestBitch
This anti-cigarette advert was so iconic it peaked at number eight on the charts. A moment! A legend!
Effectiveness: Giving it a zero purely based on the fact that these TLC/Sugababes-esque gals make smoking look cool – also it seems to be driving fuckboys away, so why wouldn’t I take up the habit? 0/10
Cringe factor: This is the worst, but also the best thing ever. The way the Britney Spears girl says “ciggies” at the beginning is enough to make my toes curl – as well as the low-rise jeans and NSYNC looking boys. Just awful, awful TV gold. 10/10