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Fed Smoking Scare Campaign Jolts 50,000 Smokers To Quit

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It seems that the scare tactics of the government has worked pretty effectively. A number of them have kicked the habit, prompted by the gruesomely powerful anti-smoking advertisements, released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The center has claimed that over 50,000 smokers will stop smoking and give up their addictive habit, as a consequence of watching the stark ads.

The ads featured former smokers who lost their body parts to excessive smoking, a woman lacked fingers, and a handsome man, whose legs were substituted by two prosthetic devices. Both spoke, disarmingly and candidly about how this was the cause of their enduring smoking addiction.

Many of the 14 participants were shown to be suffering from life altering diseases, making it difficult to perform the most routine everyday tasks. There were other ads also, that were barely watchable, so stark were they in their graphic content.

“Although they may be tough to watch, the ads show real people living with real, painful consequences from smoking,” said CDC director Thomas Frieden. “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.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control spent 54 million dollars on their campaign and it was widely run across a wide spectrum of ad avenues, including on radio, in print, bus shelters, cinemas, digital and on billboards. The campaign ran for almost three months between Mid-March and early June.

Given that this was the first mass-media national anti-smoking campaign in 30 years and given its success in persuading smokers to quit their addiction, it does seem that it would have greatly reduced smoking and its health related consequences if it had been started earlier.

During the campaign the call traffic to Quit-Now increased by more than 100 percent to 365,000 and the weekly website visits to the government website more than trebled to 417,000. More than 500,000 viewers, who were smokers, were inspired to quit, made the attempt.

The Feds could not enforce their diktat on tobacco companies to put horrific and frightening images on cigarette packages so they decided to do it on their own. The federal government’s ad campaign was made obligatory by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act signed into law by President Obama in June 2009.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden said, “These initial results suggest that the campaign will help even more people than we had hoped.”

The results are very pleasing and give hope that the ads will be used as a benchmark to tailor other similar campaigns to target, not just addiction to tobacco, but other behavioral disorders like obesity, drugs and alcohol abuse.

Fed Smoking Scare Campaign Jolts 50,000 Smokers To Quit by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes