US Government Launches Massive Anti-Smoking Drive

By McCarton Ackerman 03/15/12

Graphic "Tips From Former Smokers" ads profile tobacco victims and their gruesome afflictions.

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The hard-hitting ads feature former
Photo via

The US Government is launching its first-ever paid national anti-smoking media effort in the hopes of persuading as many as 50,000 Americans to stop smoking. The $54 million campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), called "Tips From Former Smokers," features graphic ads portraying profiled individuals with stomas, limb amputations and other gruesome effects of smoking-related illnesses. "It's not every day we release something that will save thousands of lives," says CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "This is incredibly important." The campaign also includes direct advice on how to quit smoking and information on a national quit hotline. Federal health agencies have been embracing graphic anti-smoking imagery after earlier research showed anti-smoking campaigns with hard hitting images sometimes lead to decreases in smoking. A recent study revealed that 800,000 American lives had been saved from lung cancer deaths between 1975 and 2000 through concerted anti-smoking campaigns and taxes. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration wanted tobacco companies to be required to display nine images on cigarette packages, including a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat, but a federal judged deemed that requirement as unconstitutional. After decades of decline, the US smoking rate has stalled at about 20% in recent years.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.