ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) — A national media and advertising campaign entitled “Tips From Former Smokers” is being credited for more than 200,000 smokers having quit following the three-month campaign.
According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.6 million smokers attempted to quit smoking due in part to the 2012 national ad campaign. The researchers estimate that more than 100,000 of those smokers will likely quit smoking permanently.
“This is exciting news. Quitting can be hard and I congratulate and celebrate with former smokers – this is the most important step you can take to a longer, healthier life,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “I encourage anyone who tried to quit to keep trying – it may take several attempts to succeed.’’
The Tips campaign, which aired from March 19 to June 10, 2012, was the first time a federal agency had developed and placed paid advertisements for a national tobacco education campaign.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study surveyed thousands of adult smokers and nonsmokers before and after the campaign. Findings showed that, by quitting, former smokers added more than a third of a million years of life to the U.S. population.
The study found that millions of nonsmokers reported talking to friends and family about the dangers of smoking and referring smokers to quit services.
Nearly 80 percent of smokers and almost 75 percent of non-smokers were able to cite at least one of the ads during the three-month campaign.
“Hard-hitting campaigns like ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ are great investments in public health,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, and lead author of the study. “This study shows that we save a year of life for less than $200. That makes it one of the most cost-effective prevention efforts.”
According to the CDC, more than 8 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
More than 1,000 youth under the age of 18 become daily smokers. Smoking-related diseases cost Americans $96 billion a year in direct health care expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity each year, a substantial portion of which come in taxpayer-supported payments.