PARIS, July 22 (AFP) - France is ditching its image of a country that embraces cigarette smoking with a new television commercial that borrows US-style shock tactics to highlight the deadly consequences of the habit.
Beginning Monday the top private network TF1 will show an ad in which a man in the terminal phases of lung cancer is seen in the days just before he dies.
The 30-second commercial uses actual video footage shot of the man, whose identity is not given. The camera was wielded by his wife five days before he passed away.
The campaign, put together by the network and France's National Committee Against Smoking (CNCT), stands out because public anti-smoking efforts have tended to emphasise aesthetics more than the message.
Although not excessive by US or British standards, the footage is a hard slap to French smokers who are more used to seeing their addiction portrayed romantically or incidentally in movies, where cigarette smoke often lingers over cafe tables or rumpled beds.
The CNCT said that while the campaign "may shock sensitive viewers," it represented "a new form of communication in terms of public health in our country."
The group said it particularly hoped that younger smokers would take notice, revealing that the dying man shown in the ad had started smoking at 14.
Someone feel like explaining to the french these shock tactics don't work?