Research into the $7 million campaign with the tagline "Give up before you clog up" found that 94% of U.K. smokers said they were affected by the campaign and 83% said they would consider quitting.
The campaign by Havas' Euro RSCG London for the British Heart Foundation was funded by the Department of Health.
In the commercial, fatty deposits are squeezed out of a 32-year-old smoker's artery in a truly gruesome scene. The spot cuts to a group of smokers in a pub, showing the same fatty substance collecting at the ends of their cigarettes where normally ash would be seen.
"Our advert has successfully raised awareness of the link between smoking and heart disease," said Betty McBride, BHF director-marketing and communications. "It has left an indelible imprint on many smokers' memories, so that every time they pick up a cigarette, they remember the damage to their arteries."
The TV, newspaper, poster and online campaign broke Jan. 1. It has also appeared on beer mats in pubs across England. In the first month, visits to the BHF Web site jumped 95% to 250,000.
The study of the campaign's effectiveness was carried out by Omnicom Group's Hall & Partners.
Ofcom, the U.K. media watchdog, cleared the spot, aired only after 9 p.m., after a rash of complaints from viewers who found it too graphic. Ofcom said the importance of the message outweighed the objections.