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Hard-hitting ads released by the New York State Department of Health aim to elicit emotional responses in both smokers and families of smokers and encourage them to take action

unnamed 4New York, NY – Millions of dollars are spent every year on tobacco cessation ad campaigns.

Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control revealed their latest hard-hitting advertisements airing on television, radio, billboards, and other forms of home entertainment. This campaign, titled Best Intentions, will air through May 2017, and will feature themes such as the crushing effects that smoking can have on both the smoker as well as their family if they fail to kick the addiction.

According to the Bureau of Tobacco Control’s campaign brief, the ad was produced by The Cancer Institute of New South Wales and is grounded on studies showing that the negative impact on a smoker’s family’s life is often a major motivation for smokers to attempt quitting. Best Intentions attempts to evoke viewer sympathy by depicting a man sitting helplessly watching a family member perform laborious tasks, unable to help due to an unspecified affliction caused by his failure to quit smoking. It elicits further emotional response using a background voiceover, narrated by the smoker, explaining that he has a child, and was sure he could stop “before it did serious damage.”

The techniques used in this ad have been shown to encourage quit attempts among unmotivated smokers. According to a study conducted by Krzysztof Buczkowski et al., smokers have often quit by impulse out of concern for their family members; particularly their children.

“Changing the conversation to include the devastating effects of smoking on family and loved ones will surely have an impact in further reducing tobacco use rates in New York State” said Michael Graziano, Director of the COE for HSI. “There is perhaps no stronger motivator to quit than the avoidance of harm to family members.”

For more information about the work of the COE for HSI, visit

1. New York Bureau of Tobacco Control (2017). Break the Addiction. Paid Media Campaign Brief.

About CAI: CAI is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide. Since 1979, CAI has provided customized capacity building services to health and human service organizations in more than 27 countries and in all 50 states. Offering more than 1,500 training programs annually, CAI’s passionate staff works to fulfill its mission: to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world. For more information about CAI, visit our website:

About the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement: With funding from the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, CAI serves as the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) for a Tobacco-Free New York. The COE for HSI promotes large-scale systems and policy changes to support the universal provision of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment services. The COE for HSI aims to support 10 regional contractors throughout New York State working with health care systems and organizations that serve those populations for which tobacco use prevalence rates have not decreased in recent years - adults with low incomes, less than a high school diploma, and/or serious mental illness. Focused on providing capacity-building assistance services around topics like how to engage and obtain buy-in from leadership to implement the kinds of systems-level changes that will result in identification and intervention with every tobacco user who seeks care, the COE for HSI also will offer materials and resources to support contractors in their regional work. For more information, visit


This website was developed with funding provided by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control to CAI. Its contents are solely the responsibility of CAI and do not necessarily represent the official views of the New York State Department of Health.