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Anti-Tobacco Efforts Skyrocket After Thailand Introduces Ink Made From Diseased Smokers’ Lungs

For Thailand’s new anti-smoking campaign, the medium is literally the message

image via vimeo screen capture

Smoking is unquestionably awful for you. It fills your lungs with chemicals, causes cancer, and can lead to heart disease, emphysema, and even strokes. Slightly less certain, though, is the most effective method for quitting cigarettes, once you’ve become hooked.

image via vimeo screen capture

That’s a huge problem in Thailand, where a reported 90 percent of smokers indicate a willingness to put down their cigs, but find themselves lacking the supportive means to do so. Thanks, however, to a new and innovative public wellness campaign from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, health centers are reporting an astonishing increase in participation for their quitting programs. And it’s all due to a jar of ink.

“The Black Lung” is a special blend of writing ink created by combining pigments, dyes, and samples of diseased lung, all donated by lifelong smokers following their deaths. Once created, the ink was put on display at events across Thailand, and featured on handwritten signs urging tobacco users to quit. This “message from the lungs” was shared by over 100,000 people across social media, and has since become an anti-smoking phenomenon in that country.


Created by BBDO Proximity Thailand ad agency with the help of medical center at Chulalongkorn University, the campaign is a “medium is the message” example that would make Marshal McLuhan proud. What’s more, the ads are having an undeniable effect: Across Thailand, anti-tobacco programs have reportedly seen a 500 percent increase in participation as a result of the ink.

[via Ad Week]

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