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The Austrian Ministry of Health Has Just Discovered YOLO

They came up with a non-smoking campaign aimed at teenagers and centered around the motivational slogan "Live your life. Without smoke. YOLO."
May 27, 2015, 1:13pm
VICE Media

This article originally appeared on VICE Alps.

YOLO should really be as dead as Neknominate. But just as the kids stopped using the acronym, and the people who had it tattooed on them made arrangements to get it tattooed over—of course that's exactly the point when politicians became aware of its existence. Cue Austria's Ministry of Health, who on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, came up with a campaign aimed at teenagers and centered around the motivational slogan "Live your life. Without smoke. YOLO."

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Even if YOLO once spoke to youths, today it's about as cool as Gotye, neon eyebrow piercings, and scooters. For everyone who doesn't know—yes, I mean, you Ministry of Health—YOLO means: You Only Live Once (so do what you want).

The point is that YOLO really means: "Smoke if you enjoy it. Because you only live once and if you feel like jumping out of a window, then you should do that too." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the father of YOLO, couldn't have said it better in Clavigo: "Wonderful! It seems to me, however, that one lives only once in this world."

Confused but also slightly amused, I gave the Austrian Interior Ministry's press office a call, and a spokesperson explained to me that the campaign is targeting 10 to 14-year-olds. They wanted to use the kind of language that young people use, she said. Then she asked me if I know what YOLO means. "You only live once," she explained. "It's slang word that young people use to motivate each other to take a chance."

The campaign launches tomorrow and, obviously, keeping young people off cigarettes is great. But if the Austrian Ministry of Health is trying to reach anyone other than the teenagers of 2012, then they should drop the YOLO. And if you still think that phrase is okay to use in any manner other than sarcastically, please read this excerpt from an interview with Ed Miliband.

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