An estimated 1.6 million smokers attempted to quit smoking because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Tips From Former Smokers” national ad campaign, according to a study released by the CDC. As a result of the 2012 campaign, more than 200,000 Americans had quit smoking immediately following the three-month campaign, of which researchers estimated that more than 100,000 will likely quit smoking permanently. These results exceed the campaign’s original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits.
The 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 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. Ads featured emotionally powerful stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. The campaign encouraged people to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or visit a quit-assistance website. The study on the campaign’s impact was published recently in a medical journal, The Lancet.
“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 study found that millions of nonsmokers reported talking to friends and family about the dangers of smoking and referring smokers to quit services. Almost 80 percent of smokers and almost 75 percent of non-smokers recalled seeing at least one of the ads during the three-month campaign.