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Legacy Targets Women Smokers

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For the first time, The American Legacy Foundation will target adult women smokers in a new campaign from Arnold that is set to break in June issues of women's magazines.

Based on a true story, the first ad in the campaign, "Letters," features a woman dying of emphysema who writes farewell letters to family members and tobacco companies.

In the work, Linda, a New York woman, writes three letters. "We're running out of tomorrows," she writes to her three children. "I'm so proud of you." To her husband, she writes, "I'm so sorry my smoking will cheat us out of 20 or 30 more years together." To tobacco companies: "We know you are in this for the money. We are in it for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. And we will win!"

The $5 million-plus print effort, part of Legacy's $100 million national anti-smoking campaign funded by tobacco companies' settlements with 46 states, will include three other ads. Fashion photographer Richard Avedon shot the photos for the ads. TV may also be part of the mix.

The campaign grew out of a poll Legacy conducted last year. The survey found that only 13 percent of women were aware that smoking is responsible for the majority of deaths among women.

"Our goal … is to reduce the devastating effect of smoking on women and their loved ones by helping women quit smoking," said Cheryl Healton, Legacy president and CEO.

The Boston shop, one of Legacy's lead agencies, created a campaign that focuses on real stories of women who suffer from tobacco-related illnesses.

The women were asked to create their legacies in the form of letters. "We asked them, 'Who would you leave a message to and what would you say?' " shop creative director Pete Favat said.

To locate the women, Arnold contacted hospitals and medical centers in New York. The challenge, said Favat, was to match the statistics with the faces of dying women.

"The campaign should build awareness that lung cancer is killing a lot of women, and put a flag in the ground for who Legacy is and what it stands for," he said.

Favat said Arnold and Legacy wanted Avedon to take the photos because he could capture dynamic images. "The real essence of what Avedon does are these stark, genuine portraits that are authentic," Favat said. "These women are trying to make people see what has happened to them."