By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

smokingashAbout 1.8 million smokers tried quitting – and about 104,000 succeeded – after watching a national anti-tobacco ad campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014, according to a study released Thursday in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

The CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign, which started in 2012, is the nation’s first federally funded tobacco education campaign. It features testimonials by people whose health was harmed by tobacco use.

The 2014 Tips campaign, which lasted from July to September, led to 1.83 million additional quit attempts, a 17 percent increase, and 1.73 million smokers intending to quit within six months, according to the CDC. In addition, the campaign produced 104,000 six-month sustained quits. Almost 6 percent of people who tried to quit remained tobacco-free after the first six months.

The federal agency surveyed more than 3,000 current smokers and recent quitters before and after the campaign.

“The CDC has done it again,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “The cessation successes achieved through these hard-hitting ads confirm that investing in public education about the harms of tobacco use works.”

One story focused on Brian, 45, whose smoking and HIV led to clogged blood vessels and a stroke. Smoking contributes to one in five strokes, according to the AHA, while about one-third of U.S. smoking-related deaths are linked to cardiovascular disease.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths each year, including nearly 42,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure, according to the CDC.

“We urge Congress to take note of these remarkable results and provide the resources for the CDC to continue this important work. Increased support will help save lives and reduce health costs from treating tobacco-related diseases nationwide,” Brown said.