CDC STEPS UP FIGHT AGAINST TOBACCO WITH NEW ROUND OF ANTI-SMOKING ADS

WASHINGTON, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that it is

launching a new round of its nationwide media campaign – Tips from Former

Smokers (TIPS) – to encourage smokers to quit and prevent children from starting

to smoke. We applaud the CDC for continuing this highly effective campaign for a

second year, and for recognizing that winning the fight against tobacco requires

a sustained commitment and investment of resources.

 

The CDC’s campaign is a smart investment that will save lives and save money by

reducing tobacco-related health care costs, which total  $96 billion  a year in

the United States.  Tobacco companies spend  $8.5 billion  a year – nearly  $1

million  every hour – to market their deadly and addictive products, often in

ways that entice kids.  The CDC’s campaign tells the harsh truth about how

devastating and unglamorous cigarette smoking truly is.

 

Last year’s 12-week advertising campaign was highly effective in motivating

smokers to try to quit.  While the ads aired, the government’s toll-free

quitline received more than 365,000 calls, a 132 percent increase compared to

the same period in 2011. The government’s quit-smoking website received almost

630,000 unique visitors during the campaign, a 428 percent increase compared to

the same 2011 period.

 

Research indicates the most effective anti-smoking media campaigns evoke strong

emotions and realistically depict the devastating health consequences of tobacco

use – just as the new CDC ads do.  These ads offer smokers encouragement and

help in quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting  www.smokefree.gov.

 

There is an urgent need to continue this campaign. While the U.S. has made

enormous progress in reducing tobacco use, smoking declines have slowed in

recent years as states have slashed funding for tobacco prevention programs and

the tobacco industry has continued its aggressive marketing. Tobacco is still

the nation’s number one cause of preventable death, killing 443,000 Americans

each year.

 

A U.S. Surgeon General’s report issued last year found that youth smoking is

still a “pediatric epidemic,” driven by tobacco industry marketing that lures

children to begin and continue using tobacco.  Coming nearly 50 years after the

1964 Surgeon General’s report first alerted the nation to the deadly

consequences of smoking, the CDC’s campaign is a crucial step toward ending the

tobacco epidemic.

 

We applaud the CDC and the Obama Administration for continuing this national

media campaign and for their leadership in the fight against tobacco use.

Funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the health care

reform law, this campaign underscores the fund’s potential to improve health and

reduce health care costs in  the United States.

 

Background: Evidence that Media Campaigns Work

 

Substantial scientific evidence shows that mass media campaigns reduce the

number of children who start smoking and increase the number of smokers who

quit, saving lives and health care dollars.  Public health authorities including

the Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute, the Institute of Medicine

and the CDC have all examined the evidence and concluded that these campaigns

work:

 

* The 2012 Surgeon General’s report concluded, “Evidence indicates that mass

media campaigns can be one of the most effective strategies in changing social

norms and preventing youth smoking.” The report also found “strong evidence that

media ads designed for adults also decrease the prevalence of smoking among

youth.”

* A comprehensive 2008 scientific review by the National Cancer Institute

concluded that “advertisements that arouse strong negative emotions perform

better than those that do not.  These advertisements tend to depict serious harm

done by smoking or secondhand smoke in an authentic way….”

* States that have conducted extensive media campaigns as part of their

successful tobacco prevention programs – including  California,  Florida,  New

York  and  Washington  – have reduced smoking rates far faster, and to lower

levels, than the nation as a whole.  The evidence shows that media campaigns

have helped drive these declines.

* Nationally, research found that Legacy’s  truth  campaign, targeted at young

people, was responsible for keeping 450,000 teens from starting to smoke during

its first four years.

* There is also growing evidence that tobacco prevention and cessation programs

– including media campaigns – save money by reducing tobacco-related health care

costs.  A  December 2011  study found that in the first 10 years of its tobacco

prevention program, which included mass media,  Washington State  saved more

than  $5  in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every  $1  spent.

 

The CDC’s new advertisements can be viewed at  www.cdc.gov/TIPS.

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