Anti-Smoking Ads Work, CDC to Boost Campaign with More

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If you smoke, quit. If someone you love smokes, help them quit.

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported a decrease in cigarette consumption across the US – in fact, a steady down trend since the 1960s, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released earlier this month.

From 2000 to 2011, total consumption of all combustible tobacco decreased 27.5% from 450.7 billion cigarette equivalents to 326.6. The authority seems to believe that the main contributor to the trend are its graphic and explicit ad campaigns.

In these ads, former smokers gave current smokers frank tips about how they cope with the consequences of their tobacco use. Some of these people lost body parts to amputation, others explain how to hide the disfigurements of smoking with make-up, and there are even people who share how they live day-to-day paralyzed by a stroke. All these conditions are effects of smoking. The stories are crushing, disturbing, and effective. The video sample below, shows Terrie, a former cheerleader, diagnosed with oral and throat cancer at the age of 40.

The campaign costed over $54 million, and, for the first time in US history, it was sponsored by the U.S. government. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told that the campaign was effective enough to justify a new one early next year.

The campaign will continue to promote CDC’s efforts to help Americans kick the habit, with solid advice, and more information available via The message is loud and clear: If you smoke, quit. If someone you love smokes, help them quit.

Ogilvy PR & Golin Harris are among the PR agencies who have worked for the CDC.

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