With the Food and Drug Administration still reeling from the recent ruling that declared its controversial cigarette labels unconstitutional, you wouldn’t think it would be the best time to launch another anti-smoking campaign that graphically depicts the consequences of lighting up.
Well, the Centers for Disease Control an Prevention think it’s a swell time for such a campaign. On Thursday, the CDC launched its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, which features compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, and the toll smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones. The ads, which start running on Monday, focus on smoking-related lung and throat cancer, heart attack, stroke, Buerger’s disease, and asthma.
The CDC has samples of several ads on its web site, including this one, depicting the story of a young man with Buerger’s disease, a disorder linked to tobacco use that causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to become blocked and can result in infection or gangrene.
The ads will be tagged with 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or the www.smokefree.gov web site, which provides free quitting information.
Not sure how the ads will be received, particularly by those who opposed the cigarette labels that featured, among other things, a smoker with rotten teeth and a man smoking out of a tracheotomy hole. But they do represent another bold step in the fight against smoking.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 443,000 Americans each year. Cigarette smoking costs the nation $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year. More than 8 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease, and every day over 1,000 youth under 18 become daily smokers. Still, nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit, and half make a serious quit attempt each year.
For more information on the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, other campaign resources, and links to the ads, visit www.cdc.gov/Quitting/Tips.