- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Over 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.
The World Health Organization considers tobacco use to be an epidemic. Tobacco kills 8 million people each year and, of those, 15% die from secondhand smoke.
Some understand the ramifications of smoking and tobacco use, but many are unaware of the damage tobacco use can cause until they are afflicted with serious medical problems.
Fortunately, pictorial advertisements do seem to work in raising awareness, especially when they are graphic or hard-hitting. Most focus on the serious medical problems that can accompany smoking and tobacco use. Images of damaged lungs, blinded eyes, cancer and clogged arteries are common .
Despite these horrible associated diseases, the tobacco epidemic is still on the rise. The WHO recognizes one aspect about tobacco use that makes it difficult to properly communicate the detrimental effects of tobacco use: Tobacco is a gradual killer.
‘Because there is a lag of several years between when people start using tobacco and when their health suffers, the epidemic of tobacco-related disease and death has just begun.’
—WHO Tobacco Fact-Sheet
Normally, the pictorial advertisements for ‘Stop Smoking’ campaigns emphasize the medical problems that could result.
Designer Nacho Rojo took a slightly different approach (image below – no known connection to WHO). Rojo simply and brilliantly combines a classic video game with the dangerous killer in order to emphasize the gradual damage that smoking causes. The message is clear.