Former Smokers Share Stories to Reduce Smoking

(March 15, 2012)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is fighting fire with fire to help reduce smoking rates across the country.  The tobacco industry spends $1 million an hour on tobacco marketing, so the CDC has launched a hard-hitting new media campaign of their own to convince people to quit, or better yet, never try smoking.

CDC’s major new media campaign “Tips from Former Smokers” pulls no punches, as it profiles real people who are living with smoking-related diseases, including amputations from Buerger’s disease, throat cancer, stroke, heart attack and asthma. 

“We want to thank these individuals for publicly sharing how smoking has shattered their lives so that others may learn from their tragic experiences,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “This media campaign is long overdue, is powerful and will have a significant impact on reducing tobacco use.”

Ad campaigns like this are proven to be effective at encouraging current smokers to quit and prevent America’s youth from starting, a fact highlighted in the report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, recently released by the U.S. Surgeon General. 

Every hour of every day, the tobacco industry spends $1 million on marketing.  Meanwhile, states’ failure to invest in proven policies and programs has resulted in 3 million new youth and young adult smokers, a third of whom will ultimately die from their addiction. 

States in our region, like most of the country, have failed to invest the resources necessary to reduce tobacco use. According to our 2012 State of Tobacco Control report, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont failed when it comes to Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending, with Maine receiving a ‘D’ grade. State tobacco prevention and control programs help stop children from starting to smoke and help smokers quit, but enough funding must be there for these programs to succeed.

To reverse this trend, the CDC’s ads will air nationwide, across a wide variety of media, including television, radio, print and online, with the heaviest concentration in areas with the highest smoking rates.

Smoking’s terrible toll on America’s health makes the need for such an aggressive campaign clear. Tobacco-related diseases are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 443,000 people each year.  Smoking alone costs the U.S. economy $193 billion dollars every year, $96 billion in direct health care costs and $97 billion in lost productivity. 

The American Lung Association has been successfully helping smokers quit for more than 30 years with our Freedom From Smoking® program. If you need assistance with quitting smoking or have additional questions about lung health, please call the ALA’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-548-8252.