Traumafessions :: Reader Ravyn on 1970s P.S.A.s

When I was five, The American Heart Society (Or maybe it was the Cancer Society?) used to run these creepy animated commercials about taking care of your lungs and heart. One was about not smoking cigarettes while shoveling snow (the little cartoon man had over 9000 crammed in his mouth to illustrate, and I think he died) and another listed a bunch of orders about staying healthy: “Don’t smoke! Eat right! Keep in shape!” sung in this scary deep voice. Then in the same ad was a silhouette of a human figure, then a bright red heart appeared in its chest, and the figure keels over dead! That used to terrify the crap out of me! Mostly because even at that age, I knew my dad had a stressful job and worked hard and he smoked a lot, too, and I was so afraid I’d lose him…just like the commercials said!

I’ve searched for these old ads on Youtube but to no avail. I want to see if they still freak me out almost forty years later. Could someone else find them?

UNK SEZ: Ravyn, I didn’t have any better luck than you did trying to track down those anti-smoking commercials you mentioned! I did however stumble across this one that stars the late YUL BRYNNER which used to haunt the hell out of me. I bet a lot of smokers put out their butts when this ad aired!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Amanda By Night
14 years ago

Wow, that Yul Brenner ad made me sad.

There was this ad in the late 70s, I think (I saw it once, really early in the morning on the local channel) that featured a woman holding a photo of herself over her face and talking about how she smoked a lot. Then, she talks about smoking in bed (I think) and falling asleep and THEN she lowers the photo and it’s same woman, all scarred from the burns.

Oh man, I NEVER forgot that. Very disturbing and not something for a kid to see… Granted, I don’t smoke, so I guess it worked!

14 years ago

Here’s an anti-smoking  PSA that I remember running pretty frequently, according to the info, it ran from the late 60’s until 1982. Oddly enough, as a kid, it made me wish that my father smoked so we could drive around in a cool convertible!

13 years ago

There was also an animated PSA with the 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf. The wolf smoked and just wheezed and hacked when he tried to blow the house down, and the pigs just laughed. Creepy, druggy and surreal.

6 years ago

This was the smoking ad that creeped me out the most:
I remember seeing it come on when I was 9 or 10 and plugging my ears. My dad took notice and I said “Smoking is BAD!”
Fast forward to 2016, The Real Cost continues to spew their nightmarish imagery all across media (but I was only scared of a banner ad they had on deviantART with a creepy-looking screaming guy, the message was that cigarettes are like bullies). I found out they sponsored Toonami’s mini-series The Intruder II. So THIS is technically a smoking PSA…
That is just hilarious.