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CDC Launches Powerful New Quit Smoking Ads

American Lung Association Heralds Latest “Tips from Former Smokers” Campaign

(June 24, 2014) - Washington, D.C.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched new ads today as part of its powerful “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign.  The “Tips” campaign has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Americans quitting for good and millions more making quit attempts on their way to success, by featuring real stories of just some of the 16 million Americans who are living with a smoking-related disease.  

These latest ads highlight the real story of Rose, a lung cancer survivor.  Rose, whose ads, will air in English and Spanish, has endured surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to fight her disease.  Rose is just one of the 216,000 women who have lung cancer.  More than 87 percent of lung cancer deaths are attributable to smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.  

In May, the American Lung Association launched LUNG FORCE, a new initiative to make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding.  Lung cancer kills almost 160,000 Americans each year and is the leading cancer killer among both women and men.  More than 108,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and, on average, less than half will be alive next year

Today’s launch comes at the same time CDC released new data from its National Adult Tobacco Survey for 2012 and 2013.  The data show that tobacco use is still a significant public health problem in the U.S., with 21.3 percent of U.S. adults using a tobacco product every day or some days. 

The “Tips from Former Smokers” media campaign was first launched by CDC in 2012 and made an immediate impact on prompting smokers to quit. Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT NOW—a number smokers across the country can call to get help quitting by phone—more than doubled during the campaign's 12-week run. A study published in 2013 in the journal The Lancet confirmed the impact of “Tips” finding the 2012 ads reduced the number of smokers in the U.S. by 100,000 and inspired 1.6 million people to attempt to quit.

While generating impressive results, the CDC's paid media campaign is miniscule compared to the amount of money the tobacco industry spends on product marketing often targeted at kids and teens. The tobacco industry spent close to $23 million dollars a day marketing its products in 2011, according to the latest Federal Trade Commission report on cigarette marketing and promotion released in 2013.

In January, the American Lung Association and our partners called for bold action by all levels of government to achieve three decisive goals: 

  • Reduce smoking rates, currently at about 18 percent, to less than 10 percent within 10 years;
  • Protect all Americans from secondhand smoke within five years; and
  • Ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

Reducing tobacco use to less than 10 percent by 2024 will only occur if our leaders chart a new course and commit to making tobacco history.  Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. Every day more about 700 youth under the age of 18 become daily smokers.

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