It can be scary and frustrating to love a smoker.
Nobituary.com is a new tool that helps people encourage their loved ones to quit smoking… by showing them how great life can be without cigarettes.
“Most anti-smoking campaigns try to scare you into quitting,” Nobituary creator Ian Wishingrad, 29, tells BuzzFeed Life. “But my presumption is that all smokers know that smoking is bad for them, and they’ve all been scared already by the ads on TV that show all the bad things that happen if they keep smoking. They tend to phase that stuff out.”
Nobituary offers a different take: “This one grabs your attention because it looks like a death notice,” Wishingrad says, “but when you read it you can see how great things are going to be in your life if you give up smoking — you’ll get to see your kids grow up, or you’ll spend more time with your pet, or you’ll save money from quitting smoking and go on a great vacation.”
Wishingrad partnered with Whoopi Goldberg — a former smoker — to create and promote Nobituary.com. Here’s a video announcing the service:
“It’s hard to get people to stop something that makes them feel better,” Goldberg says in the promotional video above. “How do I know this? I used to be a smoker. We created a new kind of intervention. It celebrates how great life can be when you quit. We call it a Nobituary. This is a great way to say, listen, I care about you, and I don’t want to ever have to make you an obituary.”
The site launched this week, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The idea is that if you love someone, one of the best things you can do for them is to help them live healthier, fuller lives, Wishingrad says.
Here’s how it works: First, go to the site and enter your friend’s name and other information.
Then add some additional personal details — where they live, where they want to vacation, special pets, and so on.
Upload a nice picture.
This is Wishingrad’s picture. He says he was a smoker for about 7 years, and quit for good in December.
See a draft of the Nobituary, and make edits if you want.
The Nobituary ends with a link that asks your friend or loved one if they’re ready to quit smoking. If they click on it, it takes them directly to BecomeAnEX.org, a smoking cessation resource from the American Legacy Foundation (the group behind the famous truth campaign that you’ve probably seen on TV).
If you’re satisfied with the words, choose your favorite newspaper filter…and then hit publish.
Once it’s created, you can email it to your friend. Wishingrad says you can share it over email, rather than social media, because smoking is a deeply personal thing and the idea isn’t to shame people or make them feel bad — it’s to make them feel hope and encouragement.
“This is the kind of thing that shakes the smoker into going, yeah, OK, that sounds great,” Wishingrad says. “That’s why we’re using Valentine’s Day — it’s about giving something to someone you love.”