There is nothing grosser than thinking about what's inside a hot dog — except maybe thinking about what that hot dog does to your body. That's the premise behind a new series of ads that are drawing fire for their "pull-no-punches" ad slogans warning about the dangers of eating hot dogs.
"Hot dogs cause butt cancer," reads an ad that went up recently on the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago. The ad, which features an image of a cartooned man wearing a hospital gown and looking behind him at his nether region, is sponsored by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, or PCRM, an advocacy group led by doctors and other health professionals that promotes the benefits of a vegan diet and preventative medicine. The group is urging people to stop eating hot dogs, which it says are a leading cause of colon and other cancers. You can see an image of the ad below:
In another ad that recently went up in Miami, the Grim Reaper can be seen holding a hot dog while stating, "Warning: Hot dogs can take you out of the game," while an ad in Indianapolis shows hot dogs in a cigarette pack with a "warning label" that states, "Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health."
According to PCRM, the billboard’s blunt language was prompted by a recent survey showing that 39 percent of Americans do not know what the colon is. “Colon cancer is a killer, and processed meats get much of the blame,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., nutrition education director for PCRM. “Many Americans have no idea that eating hot dogs and bacon raises their risk of this deadly disease. Even a few servings of processed meat a week can increase cancer danger.”
In response, the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council called the ads "outrageous" and "inflammatory," dismissing PCRM as a "pseudo-medical animal rights group" bent on turning all Americans into vegans.
That may be true. I don't know the politics behind PCRM, but I do know that it's hard to defend the notion that hot dogs can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. A recently released Harvard study found that a daily diet that includes hot dogs and other forms of red meat raises the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer by as much as 21 percent.
Are you a hot dog fan? What do you think about these new ads from PCRM?