A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ad campaign this summer will use real-life tales of serious health conditions tied to smoking, including gum disease and tooth loss, to encourage people to quit lighting up.
The series of new ads is part of the CDC's 2014 Tips from Former Smokers campaign, set to launch July 7 across various media. In the ads, people from many walks of life share stories of how smoking has left them in some way debilitated or disfigured.
The experiences of campaign participants and former smokers Brett, 49, and Felicita, 54, reflect the dental aspects of smoking. The two share how they lost all or most of their teeth to gum disease in one of two Spanish-language ads set to run on national Spanish media channels. Ads in the series also focus on other health conditions tied to smoking, including throat and oral cancers and preterm births in pregnant women.
Existing Tips ads ran earlier this year for nine weeks and generated more than 100,000 additional calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support, the CDC reported. Weekly quitline calls were up an average of 80 percent while the ads were on the air compared to the week before they began running. Preliminary estimates show there were nearly 650,000 unique visitors to the Tips website during those nine weeks.
As in previous CDC anti-smoking campaigns, the 2014 ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or to visit www.cdc.gov/tips to view the former smokers' startling personal stories. The website also includes detailed assistance developed by the National Cancer Institute to support smokers trying to quit.
More than 16 million Americans live with smoking-related diseases, according to the CDC. About 480,000 Americans succumb to smoking-related diseases each year, deaths that are preventable. In fact, says the CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.
For more information about the campaign, including profiles of the former smokers featured, links to the ads and other campaign resources, visit www.cdc.gov/tips. For information on smoking, tobacco, gum disease and oral cancers, visit Mouthhealthy.org, the ADA's consumer website.© American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.