In a staggering reminder of how just how pervasive smoking remains worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited in their most recent report the following statistics:
- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of whom more than five million are users and ex users and more than 600,000 are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030.
- Nearly 80% of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
- Consumption of tobacco products is increasing globally, though it is decreasing in some high-income and upper middle-income countries.
WHO also makes the point that “picture warnings work:”
Hard-hitting anti-tobacco advertisements and graphic pack warnings – especially those that include pictures – reduce the number of children who begin smoking and increase the number of smokers who quit.
Studies carried out after the implementation of pictorial package warnings in Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand consistently show that pictorial warnings significantly increase people’s awareness of the harms of tobacco use.
Mass media campaigns can also reduce tobacco consumption, by influencing people to protect non-smokers and convincing youths to stop using tobacco.
With the above statistics and information seemingly as a backdrop, a loosely-formed organization put together by a group of talented young filmmakers from Hyderabad, India, got busy. The group calls themselves “Team PRATIBIMB” and their mission statement is poetically simple: “Reflection of morals.” They describe themselves with equal simplicity:
A Social Service Organization formed by group of Friends with a hope to bring a difference in thoughts of people and an unbreakable efforts to save our morals and humanity.
To that end, they’ve created a number of PSA (public service message)-type videos they post on their Facebook page, on YouTube, and anywhere else on the web where they can garner attention for their various causes. The work is professional, artistic and, most importantly, effective. A video of theirs that’s gone viral most recently is one they created as an anti-smoking message, bluntly titled: The Best Anti-Smoking Video EVER. Uncharacteristically grandiose, given the modesty of their online description, the title just might be an accurate statement.
The film’s narrative is initially shocking: young children approaching smoking adults to ask for a light. What happens from there is an interesting twist; I’ll let you watch the video to see what happens:
Given, as WHO states, that visual images are most effective in reducing the number of children who begin smoking, it’s hopeful to consider how many kids the “Best ANTI- SMOKING AD EVER” might keep from pulling on their first cigarette.
I recommend you visit Team PRATIBIMB’s Facebook page and take a look at their other compelling videos…wonderful young filmmakers on a truly admirable mission.