The 37 Most Shocking Anti-Smoking Ads Ever – But Do They Work?

These shocking ads will repel, disgust, intrigue, confuse – and possibly even arouse!

But the most shocking information is not an advert, but a little known fact ignored by the makers of these ads. Read on to find out what it is – and find out what smoker’s/ex-smokers reactions are to these adverts.

Sexual/Erotic Anti-Smoking Adverts

French Stop Smoking ad: A woman kneels before a man - a cigarette in her mouth.

Oral sex anti-smoking advert.

A poster uses naked bodies to illustrate just where smoking causes the most damage. Impotence anti-smoking poster.

A mother


Burning cigarettes represent the twin towers of the WTC in this ASH anti-smoking ad.


A dog puffs with a cigarette in its mouth.

Inconsiderate ad.

A mouth is used as an ashtray in this stop smoking poster.

A hook pulls the mouth of this smoker towards the camera in this NHS stop smoking ad.

A man with a leg becoming a cigarette.

This quit-smoking ad shows teeth stained by cigarette smoke.

Stained and rotten teeth appear in this quit poster.

Kissing a smoker...
A hand grasps the hand of a smoker submerged by a pile of stinking cigarette butts. <

Think of the children

Kids are fast learners: A child holds a cigarette in his hand.


A child smokes in this anti-smoking poster.

An image of a premature baby on a quit smoking ad.

A boy appears to be covered by plastic-resembing smoke in this anti-smoking poster.

A child is surrounded by a HALO of smoke.

A young and and old body lie together in this morgue.

A foetus lies dead next to a cigarette.



A woman puffs outside a poster showing fatty deposits oozing out of a cigarette.

Shocking poster pointing out the various health effects of a cigarette on a young woman.

Smoking doubles the risk of smoke announces this ad against the backdrop of a bleeding brain.

A woman shows off her amputated fingers.

A horrific tumour on a man

"This is what dying of lung cancer looks like," reads the text next to this victim of the disease.

A woman dying of lung cancer thinks of her children.

And death…

A man hangs from a ceiling in this suicide anti-smoking advert.

A rotting head is featured in this smoking kills poster.

Smokers appear to be standing in an open grave in this Indian quit-smoking ad.


A skull forms at the end of a cigarette.

A distorted, rotting face leers at this smoking model from her mirror.

A woman

A torn, bleeding head is used to illustrate this quit-smoking ad.

And the most shocking fact of all…

Anti-smoking adverts don’t work.

At least, not according to research by Martin Lindstrom.

The advertising guru has taken the science of advertising to new levels by scanning target audience’s brains while flashing adverts at them.

And as we chronicled last year, he found that cigarette adverts not only fail to deter smokers from smoking, they actually increase the desire for nicotine!

The problem being, unfortunately, that shocking ads trigger the same part of the brain that stimulates desire for nicotine.

Let’s find out!

But that’s only one study.

And of course, it only measured the short term effect of adverts, and not the effect on long term motivation.

So I am holding an informal poll to find out what smokers and vapers (e-cigarette users) think.

Do/Did these adverts make you feel like:

a. Quitting?
b. Having a cigarette?
c. Have no effect on you?

(It is of course quite possible that it made you feel like both a AND b.)

I’m also interested to know whether you think quit smoking ads are acceptable, given their stated aim of saving lives, or an unjustified attack on people enjoying a legal activity.

Leave your answer and opinion in the comments below. And I’d also be very grateful if you could share this post by clicking on one of the share buttons below – I am keen to get as many responses as possible!

If you found this post interesting, you’ll probably also enjoy:

The Top Ten Most Bizarre Ways to Quit Smoking

Competition note: Thanks to everyone who entered our recent competition – the winners are Louise Popovich and Jayne Perrett.

29 thoughts on “The 37 Most Shocking Anti-Smoking Ads Ever – But Do They Work?”

  1. Most of these are shocking but they never made me give up – but thanks to the E Cig it’s been 7 months since I had a cigarette and I don’t intend to have one ever again!!

  2. The add with the lady smoking through the hole in her throat always got to me but I would have to say A and B. It did not make me quit. E-Cigs helped both me and my husband to quit. If I got a kit I would give it to my husband’s friend who cannot afford a kit. But I believe that Katie Mackenzie should receive a kit. Katie, you should go browse ECF! Good luck!

  3. I would say a combination of

    b. Having a cigarette
    c. Have no effect on you

    whilst they are thought provoking, they would not be enough on their own to have made me stop smoking. In order to quit, a smoker must want to quit. If there is a slight bit of doubt, they will start again. Whilst they may trigger the want for a cigarette, as said, it did not study the long term effects. The process of quitting smoking would not be a short term trigger, in order to change the mindset of a smoker then a longer term change would be necessary. After all, smokers have generally been smoking for years and years.

  4. Ivan Flack (MIDIManNI)

    C. No effect at all apart from a raised eyebrow as to how “pathetic” some of them are…

    I quit using E-Cigs about 3 months ago because I wanted to!

    Plain and simple. BUT I would NEVER have done it without an E-Cigarette.

    Will I ever stop them now – NO!


  5. a and b, smoked my e-cig all the way through the wiewing. I think after being told for years and years we should all give up cos it’s bad for us, we become immune to it. I don’t know any smoker these days who thinks smoking is good for them, yet we still keep doing it. All the shocking advertising you can throw at us (which we already know about) isn’t going to make us quit if we don’t want to or arent ready to.

  6. c is my choice they are useless and basically a feelgood treatment for whoever came up with that bright idea.

    I quit unintentionally with an E-Cig almost 2 years ago. Wasnt planning on quitting it just happened. Surprised me as i was a smoker for 30 years.

    The graphic ads have little to no effect on me. Ive seen worse things. if it hadnt been for the ecig i would still be smoking daily.

  7. All the pics are awful to see, But they dont make giving up any easier.If they did We would have given up long ago. would love to try the E-Cig though sounds great .

  8. Not sure if it was the smoking, the copious amounts of alcohol he drank or the stress of numerous wars that led him to die at the very young age of 90 🙂

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  10. no, of course they don’t work. You can keep telling people how bad things are for them and charge whatever you want (or can get away with) and it won’t work. People will only change when they want to, not when told too.

  11. C.

    No, of course they don’t work. You can keep telling people how bad things are for them and charge whatever you want (or can get away with) and it won’t work. People will only change when they want to, not when told too.

    I am vaping as I type this, for all I know vaping may cause worse damage, my brain might fall out tomorrow. Probably not though.

  12. “I am vaping as I type this, for all I know vaping may cause worse damage, my brain might fall out tomorrow. Probably not though.”

    That made me laugh out load 🙂

  13. Peter Lesperance

    well since I have already quit smoking and only vape these adds just made me feel ill to my stomache but nothing makes me feel like smoking an analog cigarette but try and get me to quit vaping and then we are going to be in for it or even try and get me to swap back to analogs I tried a drag and man they just taste horrible my personal vaporizer tastes so good and when I fell like it vaping blueberry is like a slice of heaven.There is no way I could ever go back to smoking but you will have to pry my vaporizer from my cold dead hands lol

  14. I think the ads in the long term could motivate others to quit, especially smokers who are already suffering from serious health problems and are developing the determination and willpower to quit…vThe e-cig has helped me stay off tobacco smoking. There should be more money and attention spent on scientific research on e-cigarette use so its benefits will be thoroughly explored and disseminated to the public.

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  17. These ads are indeed shocking and horrible to look at, but as far as stopping smoking is concerned, I think they have no effect at all. People have become de-sensitised to such images, especially those who grew up watching blood and guts horror movies! Besides, I’m sure these images are photoshopped! I really think the ant-smoking lobby goes too far with their gross exaggerations, It makes you wonder what kind of sick and twisted minds they have!

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  20. I think the most effective ads are of people Grotesquely disfigured Or on their deathbeds From smoking pleading to the audience not to put their family through the pain they have put their families through. The other over sexualized ads and goofy artsy ads with skeletons etc. just don’t have the same emotional appeal For me.

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