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Sunday, April 15, 2012

CDC's Graphic Anti-Smoking Campaign Appear to be Working

(Springfield, MO) -- You've likely seen the anti-smoking ads on television; they're graphic, but they're doing the trick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the graphic "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign last month. The ads profile people living with severe health effects due to smoking.

"Those ads I think are spot on," said George Schmitz, a smoker for 15 years.

"Those kinds of ads are really graphic," said Tyler Boykin, a smoker for six years.

The $54 million national media campaign is working. Two weeks after its launch, calls to CDC's Quitline more than doubled.

"I guess it's proven that if you shock people a little bit they'll take notice and they'll talk about it," said Mary Valloni, American Cancer Society.

Tobacco use is responsible for almost 450,000 deaths a year. Tobacco companies spend almost $10 billion a year in advertising, which is $27 million a day.

"They spend a lot of money and we're not counteracting what they're doing," adds Valloni. "I think they're trying to get the other side of the story out there more."

The hard-hitting ads unveil the immediate damage of smoking, ultimately leading to long-term suffering.

"It at least gets people talking about it. I think that this is a topic that people are very opinionated about, but in a positive way. It's getting people to make changes."

But the leading cause of preventable death and disease isn't changing some smokers' opinions.

"It's never going to happen to you," says Schmitz. "It's always going to be the other guy."

"Somebody tells me not to do something, we wind up doing it anyways," said Boykin.

This is CDC's first paid national anti-tobacco campaign.

The campaign began will run for 12 weeks on billboards, in theaters, and on the web -- including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Later in the hearing, local officials talked about the importance of making the atmosphere in and around the military bases as inviting as possible, and about the importance of a coordinated effort between communities to cooperate as needs arise.

"We've got a great state with people with a great work ethic," said Rep. Akin. "We've got a great story to tell, but we need to treat these people at the bases well."


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