Name That Trauma :: Reader Sara Queen on an Anti-Smoking P.S.A.


I am new to your site, and was intrigued with how many of its visitors had the same reactions I did to random things from television. My biggest one had to be a commercial that ran throughout the ‘90s (not sure of the dates) that was an anti-smoking campaign for teens.

It started off with a bubbly type of music, and some girl sitting in front of a mirror. If I remember correctly, there were actual creepy bubbles flying around. Everything seems normal, then she opens her mouth and it’s full of ashes and cigarette butts.

Well, as a kid, I had no idea that it was supposed to be cigarettes and I would run and hide as soon as I heard the music start playing. It still makes me shiver when I think of it!! I looked around on YouTube a little, but had no luck.

Do you think you can help me find this terror?


Sarah Queen

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craig (@bluesunshine)
10 years ago

This may not be the one, but in the 90s there was a commercial that started with a sweet song as a girl smokes in front of the mirror and suddenly turns old and haggard. The song is about a girl named Joanne. It can be found on YouTube.

Stuart Evans
Stuart Evans (@fb681430205)
10 years ago

I can think of two but only found video of one of them. Is this is?

The other commercial is of a girl that sticks her tongue out and it’s full of ashes and cigarette butts.

bdwilcox (@bdwilcox)
10 years ago

Stuart Evans,

OMG, that commercial you linked to just gave me an ElderTrauma. I actually freaked when I watched it. What that would do to a little kid’s mind is beyond me. I can’t believe they’d let something like that on the air.

Asat (@asat)
10 years ago

End justifies the means, BD. If you terrorize someone into doing The Right Thing, it’s not evil; it’s noble. If traumatizing viewers so they’ll forsake a lawful product is acceptable, just imagine what the same folks feel is fair play when it comes to actual terrorism….

The scariest part of this ad is that it’s the tip of an iceberg that includes Abu Ghraib somewhere below the waterline.

snlstar04 (@snlstar04)
10 years ago

Thank you for all your replies, but sadly that youtube commercial (although frightening) is not the one that haunts me! Maybe one day we’ll find it! Thanks!

ScrewedUpTeen (@screwedupteen)
4 years ago

The smoking ads that freaked me out were the infamous CDC Terrie Hall PSA (I hated that voice) and a banner ad on deviantART for The Real Cost’s “cigarettes are bullies” campaign featuring a highly unsettling screaming redneck-looking guy who’s supposed to represent tobacco. I saw them when I was 9 and 13 respectively. Jesus, dude.