The campaign, ‘Mutations’, which launched at the end of last year, has become the DoH’s most popular video online with over two million hits on its YouTube channel.
The ad, created by Dare and Now, features a tumour growing on a cigarette as it is smoked. It is the first shock anti-smoking ad since the 'Fatty Cigarette' campaign by the British Heart Foundation in 2006.
The copywriter on the ad was Stuart Woodall with art direction by Sean Vrabel. The creative directors were Nick Bird and Lee Smith.
Sheila Mitchell, marketing director, Department of Health, said: "Already the advert has had a tremendous impact and, because so many people are talking about it, we’re seeing record numbers flock to our channel to view it themselves.
"We aimed to strike a nerve with the campaign and these viewing figures show that it has already become a talking point."
The advert presents smokers with the shocking truth behind cigarettes and encourages those trying to quit to pick up a free Quit Kit from their local pharmacy to help them along their journey.