Smoking cessation PSAs wildly successful, says CDC
Landmark ad campaign yields almost 200,000 more calls to state quitlines after 12 weeks
The "Tips From Former Smokers" national ad campaign has generated almost 200,000 additional calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a portal that links callers to their state quitlines, and more than 400,000 additional unique visitors to www.smokefree.gov, a federal website designed to help people quit smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced recently.
The CDC said the 12-week campaign, which began March 19 and ended on June 10, is on track to surpass the goal of generating at least 500,000 quit attempts, and 50,000 successful, long-term quits.
"These initial results suggest that the campaign will help even more people quit than we had hoped, exceeding our already high expectations," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "More than two thirds of all smokers want to quit. People who smoke die sooner and live sicker. This campaign is saving lives and saving money."
CDC anticipates some 50,000 smokers will end their addiction as a result of the ad campaign. It is estimated this will result in an annual savings of approximately $70 million dollars in medical and productivity costs.
The campaign featured a diverse set of ads profiling people who are living with the effects of smoking-related diseases. It marked the first time a federal agency had developed and placed advertisements for a national tobacco education campaign. The ads in the "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign show how smoking-related diseases have change the way these former smokers eat, dress and perform many other daily tasks that most people take for granted.
Overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT-NOW more than doubled during the campaign, and weekly website volume tripled compared with levels prior to the campaign. There have been more than 365,000 calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and nearly 630,000 unique visitors to www.smokefree.gov since the campaign began.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 1,200 Americans every day. About 8.6 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease. Each day, over 1,000 youth under 18 become daily smokers. Smoking-related diseases cost Americans $96 billion a year in direct health care expenses, a substantial portion of which come in the form of taxpayer-supported payments.
"The campaign is an important counter to the nearly $10 billion spent annually by the tobacco industry to make cigarettes more attractive and more available, particularly to youth and young adults," according to a statement by the CDC. "The campaign cost $54 million dollars to develop and implement – the amount the tobacco industry spends on advertising and promoting cigarettes in just two days."
For more information on the campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, other campaign resources and links to the ads, visit www.cdc.gov/Quitting/Tips.