Federal health officials are launching a new graphic antismoking ad campaign in an effort to persuade more adults to quit smoking. The “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, which was spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Obama administration, looks at “the harsh reality of illness and damage suffered as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.” The $54 million campaign features anecdotes and tips from former smokers who are currently living and struggling with smoke-related illnesses and disabilities:
One print ad depicts a 50-year-old throat-cancer patient named Shawn, exposing his neck as he shaves. “Be careful not to cut your stoma,” the ad reads. A TV spot portrays a 51 year-old former smoker named Terrie from North Carolina, who shows how she gets ready in the morning: inserting dentures, donning a wig, then a cover for a stoma, a hole in the neck created as a result of a tracheotomy. “Smoking causes immediate damage to your body,” a voiceover reads, and then provides quit-ine information.
The ads are scheduled to appear on television, radio, online, in print media and on billboards and bus stops. Federal officials are projecting the ad campaign will help 50,000 people quit smoking.
According to the CDC, an estimated 45.3 million American adults smoke cigarettes. To date, smoking is the leading cause of preventable and premature death and disease in the United States, and according to the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for more than 443,000 deaths each year in America alone, costing a massive $193 billion in direct medical costs and subsequent lost productivity each year. Currently, over 8 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.
“Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in this country, and hard-hitting ads are a very effective way to reduce tobacco use. [...] The evidence is very clear that they work,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. Former New York City health commissioner, Frieden headed a similarly aggressive antismoking campaign that has been credited with aiding in the significant lowering of smoking rates in the city. The CDC-sponsored ads will run for 12 weeks starting Monday.