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Emotional Ads From CDC's Tips From Former Smokers Campaign Hit Home Once Again
Dramatic TV commercials that show the harms caused by smoking will air across the United States again in 2014, beginning in February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing its national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers (Tips)—with new ads and several of the emotional ads seen in previous campaigns. The ads underscore the immediate and long-term damage smoking can do to the body.
Two of the new ads feature Terrie, who took part in previous Tips campaigns. In high school, Terrie was a cheerleader who competed on the North Carolina cheer circuit. She started smoking in social settings; before long, she was smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day. In 2001, at age 40, cancer dramatically changed life for Terrie and her family. Doctors found that she had oral and throat cancer caused by her smoking.
Terrie's new ads were filmed shortly before she passed away. In these ads, Terrie continues to urge smokers to quit.
Terrie was one of several remarkable people who shared their stories as part of the Tips campaign.
Tips Ads Make Hidden Suffering Visible
Sharing experiences of cancer, a heart attack, or life after losing a leg is a powerful way to communicate the risks of smoking and the harsh reality of the health problems that can occur.
Smoking causes a wide variety of severe health problems, but these illnesses can be nearly invisible to smokers in their day-to-day lives. Statistics show that Americans pay a high price in illnesses and deaths due to tobacco use.
- Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause more than 480,000 deaths a year in the United States. They are also among the main causes of early disability.
- For every person who dies from smoking, another 20 suffer from illnesses related to smoking.1 These illnesses include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD makes it hard to breathe and can lead to an early death. Smoking can also make other health conditions—such as diabetes—much worse.
Smoking rates have declined since the first Surgeon General's report on smoking in 1964 found a link to cancer, but the decline has leveled off in recent years. As Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health said, "It has been challenging to make progress in getting people to quit smoking in the last several years." CDC launched the first Tips From Former Smokers campaign in 2012 to further lower smoking rates, save lives, and prevent the kind of suffering that Terrie and her family endured for 13 years.
Tips campaigns in 2013 and 2014 have expanded on the success of the first campaign. The 2012 effort inspired an estimated 1.6 million Americans to quit smoking. It often takes several tries to quit for good, and at least 100,000 people are expected to remain quit.2
All of the people featured in the Tips ad campaigns hope their stories will help other smokers quit. As one participant put it, "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."
For more information about the Tips campaign and resources for quitting smoking, visit CDC.gov/tips. For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking—Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 [accessed 2014 Jan 9].
- 2. McAfee T, Davis KC, Alexander RL, Pechacek TF, Bunnel R. Effect of the First Federally Funded US Antismoking National Media Campaign. The Lancet 2013 Sep 9. Epub ahead of print. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61686-4.
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