During the '90s, as part of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit settlement with the U.S. Government, the tobacco industry agreed to produce a series of anti-smoking ads aimed at teens. The problem? The ads were not paid for by way of a fine to the tobacco companies which a government agency or other anti-smoking entity could draw from and pay to have the ads produced (as should have been done). No, the tobacco industry was left to its own devices as to when, where, and how the ads were produced with zero third-party oversight. The resulting Tobacco Is Whacko (If You're a Teen) ads were so ineffective that they, at best, portrayed a confusing, mixed message that was unclear to teens and adults alike and, at worst, actually encouraged teens to smoke. (Even the parenthetical (If You're a Teen) part of the title implied that it's perfectly healthy to smoke once you turn 18.) Don't believe said ads could possibly be so disastrous? Check out the following ad from this series and you'll see what I mean...
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that teens who viewed these ads were more likely to smoke. Surprise surprise.
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