CDC launches second series of impactful 'quit smoking' ads

ATLANTA — Continuing with the success of last year’s national education ad campaign, "Tips from Former Smokers," a second series of ads was launched Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"This campaign is saving lives and saving dollars by giving people the facts about smoking in an easy-to-understand way that encourages quitting," stated Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. "This campaign is effective. The increase in calls to quitlines after last year’s campaign shows that more people are trying to quit smoking as a result of these ads."

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, the CDC noted. A "tip" from Bill, the ad participant with diabetes: "Make a list. Put the people you love at the top. Put down your eyes, your legs, your kidneys and your heart. Now cross off all the things you’re OK with losing because you’d rather smoke."

The ads, funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, feature stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. Beginning Monday, ads will run for at least 12 weeks on television, radio and billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines and newspapers nationwide.

The ads that ran last year had immediate and strong impact. Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT-NOW more than doubled during the Tips campaign, and visits to the campaign website for quit help increased by more than five times, the CDC reported.

The messages in the new ads are emotional, telling the story of how real people’s lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. The ads feature smoking-related health conditions — including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, more severe adult asthma, and complications from diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and amputation — and candidly describe the losses from smoking and the gains from quitting. 

Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, nearly 1-in-5 adults in the United States still smoke. Almost 90% of smokers started before they were 18, and many of them experience life-changing health effects at a relatively early age. 

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