CDC tries to shock smokers into quitting

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will re-launch a shocking ad campaign in July that features more tragic and gory details of the consequences of smoking.

Over nine-weeks starting on July 7, television, radio, billboard, online, theater, magazine and newspaper ads will feature former smokers who have lost their teeth to gum disease, have suffered surgery because of lung cancer and a mother who gave birth prematurely after smoking.

One of the ads will feature a former smoker named Terrie who died last September from cancer and who pleads with smokers: “Keep trying until you succeed – I don't want anybody to have to go through what I’m going through.”

“These new ads are powerful. They highlight illnesses and suffering caused by smoking that people don’t commonly associate with cigarette use,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Smokers have told us these ads help them quit by showing what it’s like to live every day with disability and disfigurement from smoking.”

The CDC says its original “Tips From Former Smokers” ad campaign that ran earlier this year was successful in getting more people to seek information to quit.

“During their nine-week run, the ads generated more than 100,000 additional calls to 800-QUIT-NOW,” says the agency. “On average, weekly quitline calls were up 80 percent while the ads were on the air compared to the week before they began running.”

The CDC says smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. killing about 480,000 a year.