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Anti-smoking drive targets young adults with appeal to vanity

LONDON - A hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign is turning to people's vanity by highlighting how smoking can affect sex lives because of impotence, bad teeth, wrinkles and the unattractive smell that lingers after lighting up.

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A series of Department of Health ads to target men and women separately are being unveiled today by public health minister Caroline Flint and will appear on national TV, radio, press and poster sites.

The £6.3m campaign, created by AMV BBDO and Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, which worked on the direct mail, online ads and dedicated microsites targeted at men and women.

The first ad, aimed at men, shows the impact of smoking resulting in impotence and erectile dysfunction and uses a burning cigarette end between two fingers used as a metaphor for a penis. The message says: "Does smoking make you hard? Not if it means you can't get it up."

The second strand, targeting women, shows the cosmetic effects of smoking such as cellulite, bad breath and wrinkles, with a scene where a boy realises that the girl stinks when he moves closer to her. The ad gives stark messages such as "If you smoke, you stink", and a focus on "minging teeth" and "cat's bum mouth".

The campaign aims to have an impact on younger people who are more likely to quit smoking due to fears about attractiveness and fertility, rather than fears about the serious health risks such as cancer and heart disease.

Smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s, according to the Department of Health. However, 88% of smokers do not realise smoking is a cause of impotence.

A recent survey by the NHS Smoking Helpline found that nearly half of men associated smoking with wrinkles, bad skin and less enjoyable kissing. One in two smokers said they would consider stopping smoking to improve their attractiveness.

Dr Bav Shergill from the British Skin Foundation said: "Giving up smoking is the cheapest and best way to improve skin quality and vitality. Many of us spend a small fortune on moisturisers and make-up to make sure we look our best.

"Smoking completely undermines such efforts, it gives a sallow complexion, adds years to your face and degrades collagen, making skin less elastic."

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