Study: CDC 'Tips' Campaign Saving Lives - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Study: CDC 'Tips' Campaign Saving Lives

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A series of graphic ads designed to help people quit smoking has ended up helping more people kick the habit than even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expected.

The CDC "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign is a lifesaver. That's according to a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal. Researchers tracked smokers and non-smokers before and after the first round of the campaign was launched. The results exceeded even the CDC's expectations.

"We had ambitious goals for the Tips campaign," reflects Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC Director. "We hoped that at least 50,000 people would quit. As a minimal estimate, at least 100,000 Americans quit because of this campaign."

Nearly eighty percent of both smokers and non-smokers surveyed admitted to seeing the ads. Not only was there a marked increase in smokers quitting since the campaign began, but Dr. Tim McAfee also says that quitters added years to their lives at an incredibly small cost.

"Between a third of a million to half a million years of extra life have been added for the people that quit at a cost of less than 200 dollars per year," says McAfee, who runs the CDC Office on Smoking and Health.

The first round of the campaign ran over a three month period in 2012, at a cost of approximately what tobacco companies spend on advertising over three days.

"What this campaign did was: pull back the curtain and show smokers and people around them what tobacco really causes," says Frieden.

"This is exactly what smokers had told us they thought would work the best to support them, and motivate them to quit," says McAfee. "But it was very gratifying to see that it had actually worked."

The CDC says that more than eight million Americans live with a smoking-related illness, and more than four hundred thousand die each year, making smoking the leading cause of death and disease in the United States.

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