Health authorities have long been urging smokers to quit their habit warning them of the dangers associated with smoking through label warnings and awareness campaigns but while the prevalence of smoking has dropped by nearly three percent from 2005 to 2012, smoking continues to persist with more than 42 million adults in the U.S. or over 18 percent of all Americans 18 years old and above smoking cigarettes.
In an effort to curb smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new set of ads that highlight the dangers of smoking and while this is not the first time that an antismoking campaign highlights the health problems that can be resulted in by cigarette addiction, the new set of ads were purposely graphic to scare smokers and non-smokers alike of the dangers of smoking.
The ads feature former smokers sharing how it is like to live with the effects of their unhealthy habit. Amanda, who smoked while pregnant, shared that her baby was born two months premature weighing only three pounds and had to be tube-fed for lacking the reflexes to talk or swallow. The baby also had to be placed in an in intensive care unit for one month and until now suffers from asthma and allergies.
The ads also feature 49-year old Bret, who started smoking at the age of 16 and has lost most of his teeth because of a gum disease; 59 year old Rose who had to go through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation because of smoking-related lung cancer; Shawn, whose smoking-caused throat cancer now requires him to breathe through an opening in his throat; and Brian whose smoking and HIV resulted in clogged blood vessels and a stroke.
"These new ads are powerful. They highlight illnesses and suffering caused by smoking that people don't commonly associate with cigarette use," CDC Director Tom Frieden said. "Smokers have told us these ads help them quit by showing what it's like to live every day with disability and disfigurement from smoking."
The CDC said that the "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign ads that were released in February this year prompted over 100,000 additional calls to the agency's dedicated line for smokers who want to quit increasing the weekly average number of calls to 800-QUIT-NOW by 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launching of the ads. The new ads was released online on Tuesday and will also run on TV, radio, billboards, theaters and print media nationwide for nine weeks starting July 7.