Written on April 12, 2013 at 10:45 am , by Colleen Travers
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 440,000 Americans lose their lives every year to smoking related illnesses. On top of that, for one death, 20 more live with serious illnesses from smoking and 8 million Americans suffer from chronic diseases caused from smoking. With stats like these it’s not surprising that 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit.
This sparked the CDC to launch the first anti-smoking campaign funded by the U.S. government, Tips from Former Smokers. Due to the response and success of the campaign the CDC is launching a second phase this month, with more personal stories from smokers and how the habit has hurt their health, their family and their lives. We got the chance to chat with Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health on how smoking affects more than just the person doing it, and how you can help a friend, family member or yourself quit for good.
This campaign if pretty graphic. What made the CDC decide to go this route?
This campaign is the first that the federal government has funded since the 50thAnniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report in 1964, although separate states have run campaigns consistently. We felt that we needed the ads to get a visual point across so we could be a counterweight to the tobacco industry’s promotion. They are spending $8.5 billion a year on promotion, so it’s a steep climb to compete with. This is not something you can do once and then it’s done with, people need to hear it and see it regularly to really register with them.
With this phase of the campaign we address several conditions linked to smoking, although there are so many more. We have a story about diabetes and smoking, as well as someone with COPD and someone who suffered serious lung damage from secondhand smoke exposure. The first time around we stuck to the impact of smoking on the smoker, this time we’re focusing on the impact on those around a smoker. Read more