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First Ever TV Campaign Launched to Support Graphic Health Warnings on Cigarette Packs in Mexico

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York, USA and Guadalajara, Mexico) – A new mass media campaign was launched today to encourage millions of Mexicans to stop smoking around their children. The campaign, called “Cigarettes are Eating Your Baby Alive,” graphically shows that children exposed to cigarette smoke suffer more respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma – even sudden infant death syndrome.

The ad was developed by the National Tobacco Control Office, a department of the Ministry of Health within the National Council of Addictions (CONADIC) which coordinates activity between public, social and private sectors to reduce smoking and protect the population from second-hand smoke. The Government of Jalisco and CECA of Jalisco endorsed the campaign to be aired throughout the state and World Lung Foundation provided technical and financial support.

“Cigarettes Are Eating Your Baby Alive” has been adapted to include images from new graphic warnings on cigarette packs which were introduced on September 25. The campaign will air in Jalisco (the second most populous state in Mexico) for four weeks on TV and radio.

The ad was originally created and used effectively as part of a comprehensive tobacco control program in New York City. It has been rigorously tested in several countries, including Australia, China, Mexico, Lebanon, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam, and has been found to motivate smokers to try to quit. In addition, the advertisement includes a toll-free phone number offering cessation help and advice.

“Mexico passed legislation in 2008 to reduce the use of tobacco but a key component in a comprehensive strategy is mass media, said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy and Communications, World Lung Foundation. “Scientific evidence shows that highly graphic messages can motivate people to stop smoking and this campaign uses such imagery to communicate that secondhand smoke is deadly, especially to children. We congratulate the National Tobacco Control Office, CONADIC, the Government of Jalisco and CECA of Jalisco for running this campaign, and look forward to future efforts to reduce the tobacco epidemic in Mexico.”

Research has shown that mass media campaigns are one of the most effective means to encourage people to stop smoking. It is one of the World Health Organization's package of MPOWER strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year – one in ten preventable deaths worldwide. In Mexico, it kills around 40,000 people each year. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 10.9 million Mexican adults currently smoke and more than two-thirds of children and women are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke at home and in public places.