Stop Smoking Isn't Sexy - Its Official

Times Online
11 December 2011

A new Government health campaign which urges young people to stop smoking for the sake of their sex lives was launched today. The Public Health Minister Caroline Flint will unveil the provocative £6.3 million information drive, which features a series of risque messages on television, radio and billboard advertisements.

One advertisement uses an image of burning cigarette dangling between two fingers and asks: “Does smoking make you hard? Not if it means you can’t get it up.” Other ads - some aimed specifically at women - detail how smoking can make people less attractive, give them bad breath and create wrinkles.

Much of the campaign stresses a link between cigarettes and impotence, with one suggesting: “Your penis thinks you should stop smoking.”

The Department of Health said it is hoped the campaign will force young adults to think about the long-term damage that smoking can cause. “A key part of our drive to reduce overall smoking prevalence is getting the message to harder-to-reach young adult audiences,” Ms Flint said.

“We know 70 per cent of smokers want to stop smoking, however, with younger people, fears about attractiveness and fertility can be a stronger motivation to quit than fears about health.”

The campaign has been developed following an NHS Smoking Helpline survey, which found almost half of men associated smoking with wrinkles, bad skin, and less enjoyable kissing. One in two smokers said they would stop smoking to improve their sex appeal and more than two-thirds of young men and women, and over half of smokers, said they thought smoking reduced their attractiveness.

Websites called “Staying Hard” and “Ugly Smoking” will also be launched as part of the drive, alongside a sticker campaign in pub and club lavatories. Clive Gingell, the chairman of the Sexual Dysfunction Association, said: “Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health in the long term. However, young men who smoke won’t necessarily be thinking a great deal about impotence as a complication of smoking. If they only knew the damage they were doing, which would adversely affect their quality of life in later years, then they would stop.”

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