Anti-Tobacco Ad Campaign Heralded As A Success By CDC
September 10, 2013

Graphic Anti-Tobacco Ad Campaign Helped 100K People Stop Smoking

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

An estimated 100,000 people will likely quit smoking permanently as a result of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Tips From Former Smokers” national educational and advertising campaign, the agency announced on Monday.

According to a CDC report, the three-month campaign led an estimated 1.6 million American smokers to try and kick the habit, with over 200,000 successfully doing so after the program. Half of those are expected to never pick up another cigarette, exceeding the original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits.

“This is exciting news,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “Quitting can be hard, and I congratulate and celebrate with former smokers – this is the most important step you can take to a longer, healthier life. I encourage anyone who tried to quit to keep trying – it may take several attempts to succeed.”

The CDC surveyed thousands of adults, both smokers and nonsmokers, prior to and after the campaign. They found that those former smokers who were able to quit added over one-third of a million years of total life to the US population. Nearly 80 percent of smokers and 75 percent of non-smokers recalled viewing at least one of the ads during the campaign, which aired from March 19 through June 10, 2012.

The advertising campaign marked the first time that a federal agency had developed and placed paid advertisements for a national tobacco education campaign, the CDC said. The ads featured personal stories of ex-smokers who now found themselves living with a series of smoking-related diseases and disabilities, and encouraged viewers to call a toll-free hotline set up by the agency for smoking cessation assistance.

Calls to that hotline more than doubled during the campaign, and visits to a quit-assistance website set-up by the CDC were five-times higher than they were over the same 12-week period in 2011, the agency said. The new study on the campaign’s effectiveness was published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

“Hard-hitting campaigns like ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ are great investments in public health,” said lead author Tim McAfee, Director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “This study shows that we save a year of life for less than $200. That makes it one of the most cost-effective prevention efforts.”