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Prepare for Disturbing New Anti-Smoking Ads

It goes without saying that tobacco is bad for your health. Despite the dangers, millions of Americans continue their deadly habits of smoking. Feeling as if their message wasn’t clear, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) decided it was time to ramp up their anti-smoking campaign. What they came up with was a series of disturbing commercial ads meant to elicit feelings of shock and awe.

Entitled Tips from Former Smokers, the newest batch of ads features people who have experienced some form of tobacco-related trauma. Subjects include:

  • Two middle-aged people who lost their teeth
  • A man with a tracheotomy, also known as a hole in his throat, speaking through a voice box
  • A woman who had a premature baby
  • A woman who lost her larynx from oral and throat cancer, and recently died as a result of complications

Is the Campaign Working?

The first round of disturbing Tips from Former Smokers ran from March through May in 2012. According to a 2013 study, an estimated 1.6 million Americans tried to quit and at least 100,000 likely succeeded as a result of the graphic anti-smoking ads.

Despite declines in smoking, 18 percent of adults continue using cigarettes and 21 percent use some form of tobacco product on an everyday basis.

“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,” CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement.

Instead of focusing on the notion that smoking kills, the CDC instead aims to show the undeniable health risks posed by tobacco products. The graphic ads show real ex-smokers who had previously suffered paralysis, stroke, lung removal, heart attacks, and limb amputations.

The new ads are scheduled to hit the TV airwaves starting on July 7 and will run for approximately nine weeks. The CDC hopes to reach a target audience and promote its disturbing ads via television, radio, billboard, online, theaters, magazines, and newspapers. The government agency is also launching a social media campaign to support its anti-smoking position.