2000s PIF depicts people stuck standing on top of gigantic cigarettes

Originally published at: 2000s PIF depicts people stuck standing on top of gigantic cigarettes | Boing Boing


What’s a PIF?


PIF = Public Information Film, the UK equivalent to a Public Service Announcement in the US. I had to go look it up.


I actually really like these! They’re simple, clear, and convey their message without shaming.

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All I got from this is that smokers should remember to keep their rappelling gear handy.


Effective. I’d want to get off too if I happened to be on one.

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I don’t think that’s the message at all. I think the message is exactly what the voiceover says: that getting off cigarettes is really, really hard. I don’t see anything in this that warns about the dangers of smoking. I think this ad is a lot more effective than the scare ads you usually see in the US that basically say you’re going to lose your face to cancer if you don’t stop right now.


This reads like an internal corporate memo. Uses acronyms it never defines, and completely misunderstands the point of its topic, probably intentionally.

Man we could use that in Switzerland, though I guess first we need to stop the sales of candy cigarettes. [Candy cigarette - Wikipedia]

Yes, I totally serious. Saw some kids blowing sugar smoke at each other just the other day.

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Alan Carr’s successful stop smoking program has one main principle: unlearn the idea that quitting cold turkey is going to be a miserable slog. With years of messaging that quitting cigarettes is harder than heroin, people are afraid of withdrawal. There is a whole industry of nicotine replacement that thrives on the idea that you can’t just stop cold turkey. Vapes are the newest flavor.

I don’t know what sort of help they provide over there, but in the USA help quitting smoking is usually based on nicotine replacement. Be skeptical of accepting nicotine replacement as necessary.


It’s a refreshing take from a period when the US contrastingly leaned more towards scolding, yeah. It’s clever and friendly and extends a hand to smokers instead of rapping their knuckles.

And now the ever-mysterious Popkin has revealed themselves as a Brit, muahahaha :slight_smile:


Or maybe the author comes from a place where this acronym is ubiquitously understood, like, say, PSA in the US?

Seems like a missed opportunity to briefly explain this. I also had no idea what the heck PIF was

I’m trying to imagine a similarly effective graphic message to the German public, maybe some addicted individual at a table in a conference room opposite a panel of medical doctors and advertising executives, each giving their own spiel about how the 9 in 10 doctor bit was just a joke–no, it was fake, not true, fiction, that, actually, smoking is not good for one’s health and that, yes, actually, cigarettes do kill.

Are candy cigarettes proven to be a gateway to real cigarettes? I don’t know about that. Next you’ll want to ban water guns because they lead to firearm ownership.

If you want to ban cigarettes, ban cigarettes.

I think candy cigarettes are more like the waiting room, rather than a gateway. Nonetheless, I did both and managed not to be addicted to either. Moving to a state that more or less banned smoking tobacco, except in your car, helped.

A 2007 study surveyed 25,887 adults and found that “[c]andy cigarette consumption was reported by 88% of both current and former smokers and 78% of never smokers”, a statistically significant difference that the authors suggested indicates a connection between candy cigarette consumption as a child and smoking as an adult.[7][8]

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A Scarfolkian archive here

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Sure, but does that connection equal causation? Just because more people who smoke cigarettes also consumed candy cigarettes as kids doesn’t mean the candy cigarettes contributed to their smoking.

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When I lived in Germany 14 years ago, I was struck by two things:

  • Germany has some of the strictest air pollution laws in Europe, and
  • German society has a very relaxed attitude towards smoking.

How much has that changed?