A hard-hitting national ad campaign that depicts the harsh reality of illness and damage suffered as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke was launched today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The ads began airing Monday and will run for at least 12 weeks on television, radio, and billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines, and newspapers nationwide. The "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign features compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, and the toll smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones. The ads focus on smoking-related lung and throat cancer, heart attack, stroke, Buerger's disease, and asthma. The campaign features suggestions from former smokers on how to get dressed when you have a stoma (a surgical opening in the neck) or artificial limbs, what scars from heart surgery look like and reasons why people have quit. Ads will be tagged with 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or the smokefree.gov web site, which provides free quitting information. "Hundreds of thousands of lives are lost each year due to smoking, and for every person who dies, 20 more Americans live with an illness caused by smoking," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "We cannot afford to continue watching the human and economic toll from tobacco rob our communities of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and co-workers. We are committed to doing everything we can to help smokers quit and prevent young people from starting in the first place." The "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign is another bold step in the administration's commitment to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco and helping those that smoke quit. Recent milestones include the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products to prevent use by minors. Additional support to help smokers quit is provided through state toll-free quit lines and implementation of web and mobile based interventions. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 443,000 Americans each year. Cigarette smoking costs the nation $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year. More than 8 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease, and every day over 1,000 youth under 18 become daily smokers. Still, nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit, and half make a serious quit attempt each year. The "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign will provide motivation, information, and resources to help. "Although they may be tough to watch, the ads show real people living with real, painful consequences from smoking," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "There is sound evidence that supports the use of these types of hard-hitting images and messages to encourage smokers to quit, to keep children from ever beginning to smoke, and to drastically reduce the harm caused by tobacco." For more information on the "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, other campaign resources, and links to the ads, visit cdc.gov/Quitting/Tips.
********** Published: March 22, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 49