The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new round of aggressive anti-smoking ads, part of its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign. Featuring real people living with the effects of tobacco use, the ads are scheduled to begin appearing nationwide on July 7.
While the campaign’s fourth phase will continue to include ads about cancer risks associated with smoking, it also addresses tobacco’s negative effects on oral health, people with HIV and pregnant women.
“The American people are less familiar with that,” said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “So, we wanted to bring to the front this reality.”
One ad features Amanda, a 30-year-old Wisconsin woman who smoked during pregnancy. Her baby was born two months early and had to spend a month in a neonatal intensive care unit. The experience convinced Amanda to give up cigarettes once and for all.
“I really felt like God was telling me, ‘This is your time to quit,’” Amanda told Fox News. “And I was able to quit then.”
The former smoker says she participated in the CDC campaign to help other women avoid “the scary path that I walked down.” Public health officials say Amanda’s ad is important because at least one in 10 women smoke during the last three months of pregnancy.
The new campaign also features people who lost teeth at an early age to smoking-related gum disease.
“Your smile says a lot about you,” 49-year-old Brett of New Mexico tells the camera in one ad, just before removing his dentures to reveal a mouth of missing teeth. “What does this say?”
Other ads include Brian, a 45-year-old who suffered a stroke after his smoking and HIV led to clogged blood vessels.
The ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.CDC.gov/tips to find resources and support in trying to quit. The initial phase of the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, which launched in 2012, encouraged at least 100,000 Americans to quit smoking permanently, according to a study published in The Lancet.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the CDC. And for each person who dies, approximately 30 others suffer at least one serious smoking-related illness.
Federal health officials hope to underscore this point by showing some of the real people behind these numbers.