Coughing billboard the new public shaming for smokers

A cleverly designed billboard that detects smoke from cigarettes has taken the public shaming of smokers to a whole new level. 

As part of a new anti-smoking awareness campaign in Sweden, pharmacy chain Apotek Hjartat has invented a billboard equipped with a smoke detector to stop smokers in their tracks by using inventive means.

It's simple: if you're caught smoking near the billboard a virtual man will start coughing on-screen.  

A spokeswoman for Akestam Holst, Apotek Hjartat's ad agency, told CNET that the billboard had copped a mixed reaction, but overall gained a "mostly positive" response.

"All smoking is a problem for people who smoke, if not now, later. Just recently Sweden introduced warning pictures on all cigarette packs. 

"Why? Because smoking is not good for you. You can't get too many reminders about this."

The company says the billboard's mission is to improve awareness and encourage people to live a longer and healthier life. 

The video has been trending worldwide, with over 600,000 views on the company's Facebook and YouTube pages.