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Smoking baby billboard meant to highlight eating choices

PETA's new billboard

PETA's new billboard

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—If you see an eye-catching billboard of a smoking baby, you can rest assured that the sponsors of the provocative ad say it is intended to help people choose a healthier lifestyle—by going vegan.

Have you guessed who it is yet?

If you guessed PETA, you’re right. In a widely distributed press release, the organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that although youth smoking rates in Virginia have reached a ten-year low, smoking isn’t the only bad habit with effects on human health.

In effort to encourage parents to be proactive about their childrens’ health, the organization wants to “remind Virginians that, just as we should put down the cigarettes, we should also put down the drumsticks and pick up fiber-rich, heart-healthy plant-based foods instead.”

The billboard will show a toddler smoking a cigar next to the words “You Wouldn’t Let Your Child Smoke.” The ad goes on to exclaim, “Like smoking, eating meat increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Go vegan!”

“We all know how important it is to set a good example for our kids, and that means choosing habits—such as eating vegan meals—that will steer them toward a healthier life,” said PETA Executive Vice President (and mother) Tracy Reiman, in a press release. “PETA’s billboard will remind Virginians that, just as we should put down the cigarettes, we should also put down the drumsticks and pick up fiber-rich, heart-healthy plant-based foods instead.”

The group cited statistics that say vegans are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than meat-eaters are. PETA also said that a healthy, plant-based diet can even reverse the effects of heart disease in former meat-eaters.

CBS 6 reached out to the organization to find out when and where the billboard will be placed, but PETA is still negotiating with Lamar Outdoor and Capital Outdoor. 

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