AMA Wire

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This Week's News

New CDC campaign aims to drive home harsh realities of smoking

New CDC campaign aims to drive home harsh realities of smoking

Graphically depicting the health consequences of tobacco use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) national anti-smoking campaign launched Monday aims to give smokers a reason to quit and prevent others from starting.

The Tips from Former Smokers campaign shines a light on the toll tobacco takes on smokers and their loved ones. Featuring compelling stories of former smokers who now live with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, campaign ads portray the consequences of lung and throat cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and Buerger's disease. The ads will run for at least 12 weeks on television, radio and billboards; online; and in theaters, magazines and newspapers nationwide.

One ad features a 31-year-old who started smoking as a teenager talking about his life as a double-amputee. In another ad, three former smokers give suggestions about living with a stoma, or surgical opening in the neck, which they now have as a result of lung cancer. One of them advises against bending over. "You don't want to lose the food in your stomach," he says.

Paired with these graphic ads is another ad featuring former smokers with practical tips for quitting. Each ad is tied to (800) QUIT-NOW or smokefree.gov, which provide free information on how to quit and where to find support.

"Although they may be tough to watch, the ads show real people living with real, painful consequences from smoking," CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, said in a news release. "There is sound evidence that supports the use of these types of hard-hitting images and messages to encourage smokers to quit, to keep children from ever beginning to smoke and to drastically reduce the harm caused by tobacco."

Physicians can access resources from the AMA to help their patients reach their smoking cessation goals. The AMA's Healthier Life Steps™ program offers a physician guide, a patient self-assessment questionnaire, action plans and progress-tracking calendars.