A new "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign kicks off Monday
The CDC says the first campaign was successful
The ads will feature real-life stories from people harmed by tobacco
After what it calls a successful first campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching a second anti-smoking campaign featuring tips from former smokers.
“They’re real-life stories that will save lives and save money, that will have a huge health impact by highlighting the real-life stories of people harmed by tobacco and highlighting the fact that secondhand smoke also kills, also disables, also causes tremendous suffering,” Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC’s director, said Thursday.
The “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign, which launches Monday, includes ads featuring people such as Tiffany, 35. Tiffany says she was 16 when her mother died from lung cancer, but she also started smoking. She says the thought of not being there for her daughter challenged her to quit.
“I could not take the chance of continuing smoking and not being here for my daughter. I know how much I needed my mom still, and I didn’t realize it until I had lost her,” Tiffany says in the ads.
Another ad shows Terrie, 52, who was diagnosed at 40 with oral and throat cancers and had her larynx removed.
In a croaking voice, she tells viewers, “I have a tip for you. Make a video of yourself, before all this happens, read a children’s storybook or sing a lullaby. I wish I had. The only voice my grandson’s ever heard is this voice.”
A second ad features Tiffany and her daughter, Jaelin. With tears streaming down her face, Jaelin says to her mother, “And just to think about me not having a mom and having to take care of you, I just can’t imagine how anybody can be strong enough to do that … and I’m very proud of you.”
This year’s ads also feature members of ethnic groups such as American Indian and Alaskan natives, who were not featured in the first campaign but have higher-than-average smoking rates, according to Frieden.
Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC, affecting 8 million people and triggering $200 million a year in health care costs. An estimated 1,200 people die from tobacco use daily.
After the first “Tips” campaign last year, the number of people calling the quit line increased by 200,000, Frieden said.
“There’s very strong scientific evidence that ads like this make a big difference in encouraging people to quit,” he said, “and a larger number of people do quit long term because of the ads. That’s been well documented internationally as well as nationally.”
The CDC also encourages those looking to quit to take advantage of medication that might help them. It doubles or triples the likelihood of success, Frieden said.
“We do these messages, we do these campaigns for one simple reason – they work,” Frieden said. “They save lives, and they save money.”