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
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
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
* 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
* 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.