Apotek Hjärtat/YouTube

Just another day in Scandinavia.

After Denmark, Sweden taxes its citizens more than any nation in the world: The average worker gives 40% of their salary to the government.

In return, Swedes get comprehensive health care at such low costs it’s basically free. Perhaps that’s why they’re so concerned about keeping each other healthy, or so a new digital ad in a public square in Stockholm would suggest.

The ad shows a handsome young man standing still — until hidden smoke detectors embedded in the screen’s hardware sense cigarette smoke nearby. If they do, the man in the ad starts hacking unpleasantly.

You can see it in action — and see peoples’ reactions — in this video:

After coughing for a few moments, the man on the billboard disappears and images of anti-smoking aids (like nicotine patches) appear in his place. Next to the smoking cessation products is the logo for the Swedish pharmacy chain Apotek Hjärtat, which is paying for the ad.

The company says it deliberately placed the screen in an area outside a metro station where lots of people smoke. Apparently the high-tech ad can detect not only smoke but also a cigarette’s burning tip (so I guess even vapers aren’t safe).

It’s definitely a clever gambit, but will it work? I mean, doesn’t being addicted to something mean your physical dependency overrides any shame or fear of self-harm you have about your addiction?

Methinks yes.

Still, bravo to the ad agency for thinking outside the box. If its goal was to get publicity for its client — the ad is a success.

Because you just read this article, didn’t you?