New CDC Public Education Campaign Aims to Make Tobacco History
Statement from Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of Legacy®
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today marks an important day in the annals of U.S. public health as a bold new national campaign is launched to protect millions of Americans from the deadly consequences of tobacco use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) new multi-channel advertising campaign, "Tips from Former Smokers," is just what the doctor ordered to begin an ambitious and long overdue effort to help stem the tobacco epidemic. In fact, the nation's doctor, the U.S. Surgeon General, just released her report last week, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, outlining how much tobacco use continues to cost our society, with a particular focus on how young adults and teens continue to be at the heart of the tobacco epidemic.
With this new effort, the CDC is following evidence-based science by investing in one of the most important components of an effective comprehensive tobacco control program in order to save lives from tobacco: a hard-hitting paid national tobacco education campaign that bolsters existing work being done at the state and local levels. Through television, radio and print advertising – along with out-of-home advertising and other channels – the CDC's campaign brings to life the real stories of several Americans who are suffering from tobacco-related diseases. The campaign underscores this message to smokers and non-smokers alike: smoking is not just a bad habit but a deadly addiction that can impact your health and your daily life at a very young age. The ads provide encouragement for smokers who are looking to quit by offering access to free resources via telephone or Web. The campaign stresses that if you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do to protect your health and the health of your family.
This campaign is a badly needed investment in our nation's future and economic health. An estimated 8.6 million people have been diagnosed with serious illnesses related to smoking, including cancers and heart disease, and are living with the consequences of those diseases on a daily basis. As a result, tobacco is costing Americans nearly $100 billion per year in health care costs, in addition to the more than 440,000 lives lost to tobacco-related disease. This highly anticipated campaign fulfills the promise of the Affordable Care Act to expand public health programs that protect lives. By encouraging smokers to quit, "Tips from Former Smokers" can not only save lives, it can ultimately save Americans money.
The tobacco industry spends over $10 billion a year on marketing its products, making the battle against the tobacco epidemic one of the greatest public health challenges. With this counter-marketing campaign, the federal government's leadership in tobacco control puts tobacco use high on the public health agenda in a truly unprecedented way. A widespread body of independent and international research shows that some of the most beneficial smoking cessation advertisements are those which encourage smokers to quit, show depictions of the health risks and emotional impact of long-term tobacco use and provide information on how best to stop. At Legacy, we know firsthand the importance of multimedia campaigns and the effects and results they generate. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that Legacy's counter-marketing cessation campaign, EX®, had a positive impact on smokers' quit attempts. Between 1999 and 2002, youth smoking declined dramatically, and our truth® campaign – now in its second decade – accounted for 22 percent of this decline. truth kept 450,000 youth from starting to smoke in its first four years alone.
Through campaigns like EX and our truth® youth smoking prevention campaign, we will continue to work alongside our federal partners to protect all Americans from the deadly toll of tobacco and help a new generation of Americans to live longer, healthier lives.
Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.
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