Tobacco settlement money funds hard-hitting ads
Gloved hands squeeze gobs of fatty deposits from the aorta of a deceased, 32-year-old smoker.
A prune-faced woman takes a drag on her cigarette - through a hole in her neck left by cancer surgery.
Two young boys talk about how much they miss their father, who died from lung cancer.
The State Health Department hopes these horrifying and poignant images will scare Washington kids away from cigarettes.
"We're turning one of the tobacco industry's most powerful weapons against it: advertising," said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky, as she unveiled the department's $4 million anti-tobacco media campaign that kicked off Tuesday. "Today, we're going to start fighting fire with fire."
But if Washington's fire is a lighted match, Big Tobacco's is a Texas-sized bonfire. The $5 million the state is spending on its campaign is dwarfed by the approximately $100 million tobacco companies will spend for advertising in Washington this year, said Dr. Bob Jaffe, of the anti-smoking group Washington Doctors Ought to Care.
"Five million is less than we have to advertise the lottery," he said.
The campaign includes seven television ads and two radio ads. The money will buy about 20,000 separate spots which will run across the state through the end of the year, said health department spokesman Tim Church.
About half of the spots will be on radio and half on television, with the latter targeted at shows such as "Friends" that attract young viewers.
The campaign doesn't include any new ads produced specifically for Washington. All of the spots were culled from similar campaigns in other states, but they were tested on groups of teenagers across Washington, said Marc DeLaunay, of the Seattle ad firm DeLaunay/Phillips, which orchestrated the campaign.
The ads are part of the state's $15 million anti-smoking efforts this year, which also include school programs to discourage smoking, training to allow doctors and nurses to better help their patients quit, and a hot line to offer assistance to people who are trying to give up the habit. The hot line will begin operating in November.
The money comes from Washington's share of the $194 billion, nationwide settlement with the tobacco industry. Washington is expected to receive $320 million from the settlement between 1999 and 2001.
One in five Washingtonians smoke, the health department estimates. That includes 35 percent of 12th-graders and 25 percent of 10th-graders, Selecky said.
"More than half of all smokers start before the age of 14," she said. "If we can stop people from smoking at that age, there's a good chance they will never start."