Shock and awe baby. Shock and awe.

I was reading a post by Darine of The Identity Chef the other day regarding the Lebanese Health Ministry’s campaign to raise awareness about the effects of second hand smoke.

First of all, why second hand smoke?  If you can’t even convince people that smoking is bad for themselves (especially in Lebanon, where smoking is a deeply entrenched social habit), do you think that for one second they are going to care about the effect it has on other people?  Hell no.

Smoking in Lebanon

The Health Ministry's most recent campaign

To me, this a sorry excuse for an anti-smoking campaign.  Sorry and pathetic. What is the message?  “Sucks for you!  Not only do you have a shitty job, but you also have to breathe in other people’s second hand smoke!” Does the smoker in this campaign look the least bit concerned that he is causing harm to other people?  And what is the waiter supposed to do?  Complain to this employer that he is breathing in second hand smoke?  Threaten to file a law suit on the grounds of “dangerous working conditions”?..after all this ain’t America..

In another campaign, the ministry took another.. more emotional stance.. albeit equally as ineffective.

Smoking in Lebanon

another campaign by the Lebanese Health Ministry

Again..Tobacco smoke is “eating” your loved ones?  Please.  Is that all you can do?  Where are the realistic visuals?  The campaigns that tug at your heart, that make you disgusted with yourself and with the people around you?

Shock and awe baby. Shock and awe..when it comes to issues like’s the only way to go..

Here are some examples of campaigns from around the world..

photo credit.

Anti Smoking Campaign

spot on.

photo credit.

Anti Smoking Campaign

not so glamorous anymore, now is it..

Anti Smoking Campaign

Gives a new meaning to smoker's mouth..

Anti Smoking Ad

One of my favorites..

Anti Smoking Ad

just bloody brilliant!

Anti Smoking Campaigns


Now that’s more like it.  I say try again Health Ministry, the people are still smoking.



Filed under life in Lebanon

17 responses to “Shock and awe baby. Shock and awe.

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  2. People are smoking all day in front of me in the office!
    But I have seen people around here look and share these shocking campaigns and more! The effect? NOT SO MUCH!

    Our finalizer who works a lot on cigarette campaigns takes in around 6 packs a day…yup that’s right…6…he’s a little further but close to me too.
    In front of me I’ve got 2 smoke machines one on each side…behind me one as well…
    For how long will this continue? I don’t really know but I would love some “shocking” options to stop this

    p.s. my boss smokes (with a risk of heart failure) so take that into consideration as well…

  3. What they are doing is simply taking an initiative to show that they care, without having to do anything in concrete terms. I have to say that when I first saw this on Darine’s blog, I was impressed that there’s finally some action regarding this issue. But then the more I thought about it, the less this ad seemed like “action”. The amount of people who smoke in Lebanon is (probably, can’t back this up) way higher than those who do not, so the ministry will be highly unpopular to actually ban smoking in public places all together. Instead, we get this little ad. Honestly, as you said, why second hand smoking when actual smoking is more dangerous? and why bother with the ad, why not just ban smoking, impose higher taxes on the packs, or do ANYTHING that will discourage people from smoking?

  4. A little more food for thought: did you know Lebanese Regie ( buys the tobacco from Lebanese tobacco growers and DESTROYS IT, since they already make enough money from selling imported tobacco products and that is how they ‘subsidize the farmers’ instead of encouraging them to diversify their crops or buying some equipment for them for the same amounts…

    Another thing I always feel ashamed of, as Gaby mentioned, is that truly we have no culture to condemn smoking, whereby pregnant mothers smoke and have arguileh, breast feeding mothers can have a cigarette in one hand and her baby in the other…

  5. Nia Soul

    Awesomeeeee post! As I smoker I was against the bans and what not, but I’ve been smoke free for like 3 days and I am all for that stuff now. Hopefully i can stay without a nicotine fix longer than a week. Greaaaat post!

  6. Nice post. Personally, I would be happier to hear of an anti-smoking law, than an improved awareness campaign.

    • meinlebanon

      Yes, I too think that they need to ban smoking in public places.. but the point of these campaigns is to get people to stop smoking PERIOD. I think that we need both!

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  8. Dar El Akhdar

    The German transparent-lung-ashtray installation is FRICKIN’ GENIUS!!

  9. That “grandma at 42” ad is brilliant!!!
    Those r the ads we should c on the streets of Lebanon!

    • meinlebanon

      For real, I think that this would open up people’s eyes (especially women) as to the harmful effects of smoking..”Omg its going to make me get wrinkles?!? I haaaave to stop..!” But instead, they post ads like the Glamour Ads..which show attractive women having a good time, as a result of Glamour Cigarettes…how is Lebanon so behind on the curve?

  10. Simon

    I agree that the ads aren’t as shocking as anywhere else in the world, but you have to admit that it is a good start.
    in the first ad, it’s calling for second hand smokers to stand up for their right for a smoke free work place! seems very reasonable for me!

    the second ad, well wats more shocking than a baby inhaling smoke? i believe both ads are very effective.

    as for the shocking effect, you should see the TV ads they play here in sydney! scary stuff, sorta like watching a horror movie!

  11. Being a “freedom act” freak, I always had this concept whereby you either make it illegal or you simple get the f**k off my back! Now the hard part: Why don’t governments make tobacco illegal??!

    Well duhh! That’s where the big money is. Oil, pharmaceuticals and tobacco. So they basically let us play, throwing an anti-smoking campaign here and there, forbidding smoking in public places, etc.

    What’s amazing is that they fight drugs like they fight the Talibans, when tobacco does the same if not more harm to more people, in more places.

    Anyway, I wish the Health Minister worries more about CO2 emission, stress, and healthcare reform instead of mentally masturbating over cheesy 60’s stye campaigns.

    But that’s just me!

  12. This the best article I have never seen before….I like this post

  13. Pingback: Shock and Awe part 2 « This is Beirut

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