Los Angeles' Smoking Deaths Billboard New Year's Eve Tradition

Author: Petrine TX

On the west side of Los Angeles sits an infamous billboard on Santa Monica Boulevard above a YWCA. The billboard features a seemingly live digital numeric readout which displays the number of people who have died of smoking related illness and lung cancer in the United States of America. Every year on New Year's Eve, a group of Angelenos congregate beneath this sign and count down the seconds to New Year's Day as they all witness the billboard reset to zero. This video features their stories about what drew them to this location.

This billboard has been displayed and updated since 1987. The first story from this video mentions Eric J. Lawrence, the local Los Angeles KCRW radio music librarian and DJ. More of his story can be found here: https://www.kcrw.com/music/articles/eric-j-lawrence-memorium-remembrance-life-work