AMA Wire

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This Week's News

Graphic CDC ad campaign gives smokers strong incentive to quit

A national campaign to help Americans quit smoking has kicked off a second round of outreach with a new series of graphic ads intended to expose the tragic health impact of smoking.

The new ads, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign, depict some of the devastating results smoking causes for smokers and their families.

In one print ad, a 40-year-old named Bill sits on the edge of his bed holding a glucose monitor. His shirt is open to reveal a large vertical scar on his chest, and a prosthetic limb sits beside what remains of his amputated left leg. The caption reads, "If you smoke with diabetes, plan for amputation, kidney failure, heart surgery … or all three."

In a video ad, 57-year-old veteran Michael explains through audibly labored breaths that he has chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. He needs a lung transplant and knows he's running out of time to spend with his young grandchildren.

These and similarly compelling stories are conveyed in television, radio, theatre, billboard, online and print ads running for the next 12 weeks.

"‘The Tips from Former Smokers' campaign shows the painful effects of smoking through former smokers, in a way that numbers alone cannot," CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, said in a news release. "These are the kinds of ads that smokers tell us help motivate them to quit, saving lives and money."

The campaign's first round of ads generated an additional 200,000 calls to the national quit hotline. The CDC estimates that 20 percent of callers successfully give up smoking.

Physicians can help their patients quit smoking with help from AMA resources. The AMA's Healthier Life Steps® program, for instance, provides tracking calendars and action plans to keep patients on track for achieving such healthy lifestyle goals as smoking cessation and physical activity.

An online continuing medical education (CME) newsletter from the AMA offers an issue on treating tobacco dependence. Physicians who complete the activity will learn how to determine a patient's level of dependence, assess his or her readiness to quit and identify evidence-based pharmacologic treatments.