CDC Launches New Series of Anti-Smoking Ads

By Paul Gaita 07/01/14

The new series will feature print and media ads from former smokers.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch a new series of print and media advertisements for its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign. The new ads will run nationwide for nine weeks beginning on July 7 and will appear on English- and Spanish-language television, as well as radio, billboards, and online and in publications and theaters.

As with the campaign’s 2012 spots, the new ads take a hard-line approach to the negative impact of smoking upon people’s lives. One ad features a 30-year-old mother who smoked during pregnancy, which resulted in premature delivery of her baby. Others showcase individuals who have suffered strokes, lung cancer, loss of teeth as a result of their smoking habits; one woman, Terrie, did not live to see her ad reach the screen.

Each ad includes a toll-free number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW1-800-QUIT-NOW, which offers support to viewers who seek to break their own tobacco addiction, as well as the URL for the CDC’s “Tips” website, which features more personal stories from participants in the campaign. The series has proven effective in helping smokers to reduce their tobacco use; a previous run of existing ads that aired earlier this year generated more than 100,000 calls to the 800 number, as well as 650,000 unique visitors to the “Tips” site. 

The uptick in calls—an 80% increase from the week prior to the broadcast dates of the ads—represents a significant attempt by Americans to break smoking’s long-standing status as the leading cause of death and disease in this country.

More than 480,000 Americans die each year from a smoking-related disease, while 16,000 individuals are living with a smoking-related illness.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.