A woman hold a device next to her throat and speaks of her daily routine in a robotic monotone voice. Another puts on her wig and covers a hole in her neck. Its all part of a graphic anti-smoking commercial campaign and people are taking notice
"The first time I saw that commercial my grandmother went through my mind." Said Suncoast resident Lisa Taylor, "She had the similar surgery she was actually in a feeding tube through her throat she had trouble talking, she had throat cancer and died from it." She continued, "I know how its affected my grandchildren, my sixteen, fourteen and thirteen year old grandchildren all have seen the commercial, it kind of freaks them out."
Difficult to watch, but like it or not the CDC's anti-smoking commercials featuring smokers who lost their limbs are making an impact and raising concerns are getting attention.
"A lot of us are in denial about the worst consequences of our behavior." Said Eddy Regnier, Ph. D. of Assessment and Psychotherapy Services in Sarasota. He explained that many of the commercials air during early evening hours to reach the most people. "They air during dinner time, when people are trying to relax and this terrible image comes on the TV and tells us that smoking is bad for you, and this could happen to you"
Even former smokers are unnerved by the in your face campaign, "If I were still smoking then I would definitely think about stopping." Said former smoker Tim Fowler, of Sarasota. "If I continue, that this may happen to me. And I may lose my my voice box . Its very alarming to think that I would have to use a microphone to speak in and not talk naturally."
If this is the response the CDC hopes for in raising awareness, then they have done their homework.
"We all don't want to talk about it, " Said Dr. Regnier. "We want to hide the truth, we don't want to face it, but its a truth that needs to be known and the risks need to be known."
While the commercials send a strong message, albeit one that some may not want to see or hear, (I could not get one current smoker to be interviewed about the commercial) millions continue to smoke, and health care professionals say that stopping only comes when the individual makes up their mind, whatever that may take.