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AD aired at the VMAs Publicly Shamed Celebrities who Smoke

Update Date: Aug 27, 2014 09:37 AM EDT
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Smoking can increase one's risk of developing many diseases, ranging from lung cancer to heart problems. Due to the health risks involved, governments and organizations have been using several tactics to discourage young people from picking up the habit. In one of the latest methods, the anti-tobacco group, Legacy, sponsored a new television ad that publicly shamed celebrities who smoke. This ad aired during the MTV's Video Music Awards this past Sunday.

In the ad, pictures of celebrities smoking during their off time flashed one after another. Occasionally, sentences such as "Every time one of these photos gets posted, big tobacco gets tons of free marketing" and "unpaid tobacco spokesperson" showed up in between the photos. Some of the celebrities included Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Orlando Bloom, Keifer Sutherland and popular Twilight Saga stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. The ad ended with #FinishIt.

Tom Miller, the Attorney General from Iowa who is a board member of the Legacy group, stated that even though public health surveys have reported declines in smoking among the youth, more can still be done to lower the rate. From 2008 to 2012, the rate of high school juniors in Iowa that identified themselves as smokers fell from 24 percent to 11 percent. The rate of eighth grade smokers within the state fell from five percent of three percent during the same time frame.

Miller added that the Legacy group will be dedicating $50 million to its stop-smoking campaign this year. The ads will be similar to previous ads that the Legacy group aired titled the "Truth Campaign."

"The 'Truth Campaign' took the approach that the tobacco companies are manipulating you, the tobacco companies are using you," Miller said according to USA Today.

The Legacy group's finances come from a 1998 settlement between tobacco companies and 46 states, including Iowa. That settlement was worth $206 billion. The group's end goal is to reduce the teen smoking rate from nine percent to zero.

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