About 1.6 million smokers tried quitting — and about 100,000 succeeded — after seeing a national anti-tobacco advertising campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012, according to a new study released Monday in the journal The Lancet.
The CDC’s first “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign, featuring personal, sometimes shocking stories of people who’ve faced dire health consequences from smoking tobacco, aired between March and June 2012. The series resumed again this year.
Monday’s study credits the ads with spurring more than 200,000 Americans to quit smoking immediately after the campaign ended—half which expected to quit smoking permanently, according to the CDC. The federal agency obtained its findings by surveying more than 5,000 smoking and nonsmoking adults both before and after the campaign.
According to the American Heart Association, smoking contributes to one in five strokes. Meanwhile, about a third of smoking-related deaths in the United States are linked to cardiovascular disease. Every time you light up, the risk of heart attack increases.
Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, accounting for more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths from heart disease.
An estimated 4.7 million non-smokers, meanwhile, recommended a cessation service such as the CDC’s 1-800-QUIT-NOW support group hotline during the campaign, and more than 6 million non-smokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking because of the ads. The campaign’s original goals were for 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits.
The American Heart Association includes quitting smoking as one of “Life’s Simple 7” — lifestyle factors that can greatly impact heart health.
One wrenching story in the CDC’s campaign features Terrie, who smoked her first cigarette at 13. In 2000, she found a sore in her mouth that was diagnosed as oral cancer. Later she found out she had throat cancer.
Another video features three people with surgically-placed stomas as a result of their smoking all offering tips on how to live their their condition.
The CDC has provided a website with more information about its Tips From Former Smokers campaign.