Tips Campaign Matte Article for Healthcare Providers
Audience: Health care providers
CDC: 2012 National Tobacco Education Campaign Tips From Former Smokers
Word Count: 531
Headline: New CDC Campaign Features Real People Living With Devastating Illnesses Due to Smoking
Now is an especially great time to talk to your patients about quitting smoking. This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a national mass media campaign to educate the public about the harmful effects of smoking and to encourage quitting. The campaign is called Tips From Former Smokers and features real people suffering from the devastating effects of tobacco use. The ads provide encouragement to quit and an offer of free help from 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or www.smokefree.gov.
Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health and a primary care physician, says, "We hope this media campaign complements the important efforts of health care providers to encourage and help their patients quit. Less than 2% of physicians smoke, in large measure because we see up close the devastation that smoking causes our patients." But for the public, the negative health outcomes related to smoking largely lie hidden behind faceless statistics. "We know smoking doesn’t just kill you 10 years early. It also can disable you in middle age. For every person who dies each year from tobacco use, another 20 continue to suffer from one or more smoking-related illnesses," says McAfee. CDC hopes interested smokers will quit before they have to suffer like the people featured in this campaign.
The campaign features a variety of people whose illnesses include lung, esophageal and laryngeal cancer; heart attack; stroke; asthma; and Buerger’s disease. These former smokers and individuals affected by secondhand smoke hope their stories will help motivate people to quit smoking. Says Shawn, 51, of Washington State, who is featured in one of the ads, "I don’t want to see anyone else go through what I’ve gone through, because it affects you the rest of your life. Look at me and see where choosing to smoke leads. Is this the choice you want to make?"
Because of the hard-hitting nature of the ads, many smokers may be motivated to try to quit for good and may approach you for advice and help. Multiple studies show that brief advice from a clinician encouraging smokers to quit increases the likelihood that patients will try and succeed. The availability of free help from 1-800-QUIT-NOW can also increase willingness to make a quit attempt. In addition, one of the ads provides a brief primer of simple evidence-based tips on how to succeed quitting smoking, delivered by real quitters, such as getting rid of smoking paraphernalia, telling friends, avoiding alcohol initially, exercising, and continuing to try until successful.
"Physicians, other health care providers, and their staff can play an incredibly important role in helping smokers move from thinking about quitting to taking real steps toward successful quitting," McAfee added. "I hope this CDC campaign will be a helpful tool supporting your efforts."
For more information about the campaign, visit www.cdc.gov/quitting/tips.
For free downloadable information on how to talk to your patients about quitting smoking, go to www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/clinician_sheet/index.htm.
For free help, patients can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.smokefree.gov.