The Maryland chapter of the American Lung Association recently commissioned a TV ad that equates smoking around children with child abuse:
The television commercial begins by showing the exterior of a house with the door open. Through the door, you can hear a father yelling viciously at a child. The child is obviously in great peril and terribly fearful.
"No, daddy, no. Stop it!" the child screams. Clearly, the child is being physically beaten and abused.
The camera pans in on the living room, where to the viewer's surprise, there is no beating going on. Instead, a father is smoking while his children sit calmly watching television.
The narrator then states: "Exposing your children to the dangers of secondhand smoke is in fact abuse. A message from the American Lung Association."
The surprising thing is not that an anti-smoking group thinks getting beaten by your father is no worse than being exposed to his secondhand smoke. It's that the national organization, in response to criticism from maverick anti-smoking activist Michael Siegel, pulled the ad (which is why it's no longer available on YouTube) and apologized for it. Here is ALA President John Kirkwood's response to Siegel:
Thank you for bringing the "Abuse" spot to my attention. The spot was produced by an advertising agency for one of our local lung associations who was attempting to increase public awareness about the dangers of second hand smoke. Unfortunately the spot tries to accomplish this objective with a child abuse theme that is both inappropriate and extremely offensive. The spot is disgraceful and it is something that would have never been condoned by the American Lung Association if my office had been aware of it. We have taken immediate action to remove it from You Tube and to halt any further distribution. We extend our profound apologies to everyone for this grievous error.