One of the things a lot of people search for here at Good Enough Mother is about teens and smoking. Invariably they wind up on this post, an Ask Rene about a mother, worried that her 14-year-old son had started smoking and she wasn’t sure what to do about it (you can go here to read what I told her; it was not pretty).
This mother is not alone. According to the CDC, nearly 4,000 people under the age of 18 start smoking every single day which, sadly for many, turns into a lifelong addiction; one that is tough to shake. Armed with those statistics, the federal government, earlier this year, debuted a series of graphic public service announcements, done by people who’d seen the effects of cigarette smoking up close.
The goal was to get 500,000 people to try to quit with 50,000 of them succeeding (according to research, it takes the average smoker five years and seven attempts before they put cigarettes down for good). Officials at the CDC believe they’ll do even better than that when the data are tallied; as it stands, they got double the calls and triple the traffic to their website.
Sounds good, right? Of course it does. I think we can all agree cigarette smoking is bad for us and there are reams of data to back that up. But this campaign was the very first paid for by the federal government; it didn’t come cheap wither, running a cool 54-million dollars.
So let me play devil’s advocate as I pose today’s question: should the government be ponying up that kind of cash, even for a campaign as successful as this one? I am not a smoker and can’t stand to be around it but isn’t smoking a personal choice? There are already limits as to where someone can light up; should people who want to make a choice to smoke be facing this when they turn on their TVs?
What say you GEM nation? Good use of funds or no? Lemme hear ya!
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