You may have noticed this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new part of its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign. The ads, which hit began running on July 7, will continue running for nine weeks on television, radio, billboards, and online. They will also be seen in theaters, magazines and newspapers.
The campaign is completely upfront about its intent – these ads are designed to shock, frighten and even disgust current smokers into quitting the habit that is surely killing them.
Former smokers featured in the new ads are two middle-aged people who lost their teeth, a man with a whole in his throat, and a woman who had a premature baby. All of these are a result of smoking.
Also featured is Terrie Hall, a woman who is no stranger to appearing in the CDC’s anti-smoking ads. Hall, who lost her larynx to oral and throat cancer, was featured in the ad describing how she as a former smoker gets ready in the morning by putting in her teeth, placing her wig, and inserting her hands free device that allows her to talk.
At a press conference for the unveiling of the new ads, Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s office on smoking and health said Hall “demanded that we come and film her for this ad just days before she passed away.” In the ad, Hall tells viewers, “I don’t want anyone to go through what I’m going through.”
The ads have been effective in deterring smoking. Officials say that smokers have told them the ads helped them quit smoking by demonstrating what life is like with disabilities caused by smoking. Though smoking rates have dropped, there are still plenty of smokers out there.
According to the CDC, 18 percent of adults still smoke cigarettes, and 21 percent use some form of tobacco product every day or most days. Unfortunately, it seems that while the ads are helping reduce the number of smokers, there will still be plenty of people who can be participants in the ads for some time to come.
All of the background stories of the participants as well as their ads can be found on the CDC’s website.