Federal health officials are unveiling Thursday a $54 million national media campaign to get smokers to quit and prevent anyone else, especially children, from starting.
The campaign, called “Tips From Former Smokers,” is intended to educate Americans about the dangers of smoking through the stories and graphic pictures of ex-smokers who have suffered severe health consequences of tobacco use.
The former smokers profiled have suffered ailments like stroke-related paralysis, limb amputation, lung removal and heart attack. One breathes through a stoma, a surgically created hole in the neck through which a person who has undergone larynx or voice box surgery can breathe.
The ads are the brainchild of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health. The agency says smoking remains the country’s leading cause of disease and preventable death, resulting in more than 443,000 fatalities annually. More than 8 million Americans live with a smoking-related illness or conditions, according to the disease agency.
The combination of public service announcements and paid advertising for television, radio, newspapers and magazines, also spotlights the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke. The ads will also be featured on billboards, in theaters and online–including on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
You cannot ban tobacco smoking, but education campaigns that truthfully portray the results of smoking may be a way to reduce the amount of it.
Let’s hope these are successful – although I have my doubts that the shift will be huge, unfortunately.
The campaign includes eight television ads (one of them in Spanish); seven radio spots in 30- and 60-second versions; seven print ads and five billboard and bus stop ads.
The campaign marks the first time the CDC has run a paid, comprehensive national anti-tobacco advertising effort. The primary target is smokers ages 18 to 54, but public health experts also hope it will dissuade children from adopting the habit.