Innovation That Matters

Billboard coughs when it detects cigarette smoke


Swedish pharmacy Apotek Hjartat’s quit smoking campaign billboard coughs when someone smokes nearby and then displays products to help kick the habit.

The World Health Organization reports that tobacco use kills approximately six million people each year. And despite having one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe, Sweden’s Apotek Hjartat pharmacy is running a quit smoking campaign to help smokers make good on New Year resolutions. Located in Stockholm’s busy Odenplan square, the campaign billboard features a black and white image of a man.

When the integrated smoke detector identifies smoke, the man in the billboard image comes to life, emitting a sharp, hacking cough. So far, reactions from smokers have been mixed, with non-smokers and smokers alike appreciating the novelty and surprise of the billboard.

Apotek Hjartat is not new to Springwise, having been featured last year with its virtual reality pain relief app. Pharmacies appear to be taking their role of providing a positive public service seriously, with one in New York charging a man tax to highlight the persistent gender wage gap. What other public health campaigns could pharmacies help support through personalized and/or technology based interventions?



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