CDC Says Anti-Smoking Campaign Exceeds Expectations
Published September 10th, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- They're designed to help you kick the habit.
Chances are you've seen one of the chilling ads released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the effects of smoking.
The CDC created the campaign called "Tips From Former Smokers" in the hopes of convincing people to quit before it's too late.
The ads made the headlines back when they first aired, and they're making headlines again for their effect.
Steven Wellman doesn't smoke, but took notice last year when the CDC's ad campaign hit airwaves.
The PSA's depicted people who've faced serious medical consequences as a result of smoking.
"I have two parents that smoke myself so it hit me personally," Wellman says, "it encouraged me to actively seek out and try to get them to stop smoking."
He's not alone. A study released by the CDC about the effectiveness of the campaign found 6 million nonsmokers felt compelled to talk with friends and family about the dangers of smoking. Furthermore, 1.6 million smokers tried to quit after seeing the ads. They estimate that smokers who did quit added more than 300,000 years of life to the US population.
The initial goal was convince 50,000 people to quit smoking, but the researchers behind this study believe that - because of the campaign - more than 100,000 will permanently kick the habit."
Experts say the effectiveness lies in the campaign's believeability.
"You're actually able to see people's every day lives having done this behavior for a long time," says Dr. Cynthia Morton.
An associate professor of advertising at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Morton says health campaigns must strike a delicate balance: being agressive with their message, without causing people to shut it out.
"If you don't believe that the threat is credible, then either you turn away from it because it's too heinous or you ignore it because it's just too non concrete," Morton says.
It seems in this case, the message got through.
For more information about the CDC's "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/
If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, you can also visit http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/
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