Graphic Smoking Ads Working; More On The Way, CDC Says [VIDEO]

By Amir Khan on August 7, 2012 12:35 PM EDT

Smoking
The graphic smoking ads showing diseased smokers have been such a success that the government is planning another round of them to convince smokers to kick the habit (Photo: Reuters)

The graphic smoking ads showing diseased smokers have been such a success that the government is planning another round of them to convince smokers to kick the habit. The ads ran for 12 weeks earlier this year, and showed smokers with a variety of diseases talking about their daily life and how they cope with the consequences of smoking.

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The goal of the ads was to get 500,000 people to try and quit and get 50,000 to quit permanently -- but it may have done better.

"The initial results suggest the impact will be even greater than that," Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which headed the campaign, told USA Today. "We do plan to do another (campaign) next year."

The CDC does not have an official tally of how many people tried to quit, but the organization said there were twice as many calls to its national quit-line, 800-QUIT-NOW.

Eric Asche, who works for the anti-smoking group Legacy and consulted with the CDC for the ads, said humanizing the dangers of smoking is powerful.

"We made the danger accessible and realistic," he told USA Today. "When you personalize a story, it's powerful."

Smoking kills over 400,000 people a year, about 1,200 daily, and the earlier smokers start the more likely they are to die from smoking-related diseases. More than 80 percent of smokers start before age 18 and 99 percent start by age 26.

Smoking can cause a myriad of health problems including stroke, heart disease, chronic lung problems, and various cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking costs the United States $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity every year.

"It's important that everyone understands the impact of smoking," Frieden said. "This campaign pulled back the curtain."

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