The Smoke’s on You

Anti-tobacco ads aren’t usually a laughing matter, but a new campaign from Los Angeles-area youths may have audiences in stitches.

Meant to counter Big Tobacco’s “good guy” ads touting philanthropy and youth tobacco-prevention programs, the “toxic comedy campaign” features comedians turning those efforts into a joke in front of live audiences.

Targeting teens and college students, four 30-second PSA TV spots start with the line, “There’s something funny about a big tobacco company, Philip Morris.” Ads have standup comics mocking cigarette makers for warm-and-fuzzy tactics like sending food to needy people, changing their name and helping battered women. The ads end with the line, “You’re killing us. Really.”

The project was spon sored by L.A. Link, a Prop-99-funded tobacco-control organization. TV and radio ads were developed by a youth-staffed organization called the L.A. Regional Youth Consulting Firm.