The government has launched this new advert through its drug information serivce FRANK to highlight the effects of using cannabis.
The launch of the campaign follows last month's cannabis reclassification from Class C to a Class B drug, which means it now carries more severe penalties for possession.
The advert is part of an ongoing awareness programme targeting 11-18 year olds about the harms caused by the drug.
The £2.2m TV, radio and online advertising campaign, features a teenager called Simon who is smoking cannabis and the audience is taken inside his head.
At first we see him experiencing the perceived positive effects of cannabis, such as feeling giggly, talkative, and getting the munchies.
We then see him experience the negative side effects associated with the drug - paranoia, panic attacks and memory loss.
Fewer young people are using cannabis than ten years ago, but cannabis use amongst young people is still high compared to some other European countries.
Chris Hudson, FRANK spokesperson and addictions expert, said: “Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in Britain and ‘binge smoking’ to achieve maximum effect may be putting peoples’ mental health in serious danger. There is evidence of a link between cannabis and mental health problems such as schizophrenia, and those who first use it at an early age may be more at risk. You never truly know what you’re getting and stronger cannabis, such as skunk, can increase the chance of suffering a nasty reaction.
Despite a 10.3 percentage point fall since 1998 in the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who have used cannabis in the last year, 17.9% of that age group admitted to smoking cannabis in 2007/08.
TV and radio ads will air for six weeks from today on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and satellite channels (in programming which targets the 11 to 18-year-old audience) and on commercial radio. The TV ad will be first aired during Hollyoaks on Channel 4 at 6.45pm this evening. Digital advertising will run concurrently on a range of websites. The campaign is being supported by new cannabis content at www.talktofrank.com.
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