CDC Campaign: Necessary, Long Overdue Step to Reduce Smoking

Centers for Disease Control | 3/16/2012, 9:52 a.m.

CDC Advertising Campaign: Necessary, Long Overdue Step to Reduce Smoking

The recent release of the 31st U.S. Surgeon General's report, "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults," revealed that mass media campaigns are one of the most effective ways tobacco use can be reduced. These campaigns have the effect of prompting smokers to quit and discouraging youth from starting.

The CDC's hard-hitting media campaign profiles real people who are living with smoking-related diseases, including amputations from Buerger's disease, throat cancer, stroke, heart attack and asthma. This ad campaign is a proven approach to encourage current smokers to quit and prevent America's youth and young adults from starting.

"We applaud these individuals for publicly sharing how smoking has shattered their lives so that others may learn from their tragic experiences," said Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association president and CEO. "This campaign is long overdue, is powerful and will have a significant impact on reducing tobacco use."

The ads will air nationwide, primarily on television, but also via radio, print, online, and out of home placements. CDC is strategically increasing coverage of the ads in parts of the country with the highest number of smokers to maximize visibility and effectiveness among its target audience.

The Lung Association commends the CDC for creating an ad, in both English and Spanish that encourages parents to ask people not to smoke around their kids. The Lung Association recently released a health disparity report on the burden of asthma among the Hispanic population, and is confident the Spanish-language ad will help reduce this health disparity.

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. Tobacco-related diseases are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 443,000 Americans 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 CDC's paid media campaign is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money the tobacco industry spends on product marketing targeted for kids and teens. The U.S. cannot afford not to air these ads, and the Lung Association stands in strong support of the ads, and ready to help anyone who wants to end their tobacco addiction.

This is the latest in a series of laudable steps taken by the Obama Administration to reduce tobacco use in the United States. President Obama signed the landmark Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products; raised the federal excise tax on cigarettes by 61 cents to fund children's health insurance; and dramatically expanded access to comprehensive tobacco cessation services through the Affordable Care Act and other initiatives. The Lung Association has been successfully helping smokers quit for more than 30 years with our Freedom From Smoking program. In addition, the Lung Association's Not-On-Tobacco (N-O-T) program is designed for smokers aged 14 to 19 who want to quit and is America's most popular smoking cessation program for teens. For assistance with quitting smoking or for additional questions about lung health, please call the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-548-8252.