Have you seen those anti-smoking ads on TV? They're disturbing – and very real. In one ad, a woman warns about the dangers of smoking – her smoking-related cancer left a hole in her neck. There are other ads, too. They are all part of the CDC's "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign.
The CDC says tobacco use is still the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills 440,000 Americans annually.
Many Americans still smoke. In 2011, approximately 19 percent of U.S. adults – or 43.8 million people – used cigarettes. Of those, more than three-quarters smoked every day.
According to a new study, the CDC's hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign is a success, essentially tripling the number of smokers who officials hoped would be inspired to quit. It also generated a nearly 38-fold increase in unique website visitors to the CDC campaign site and a 75 percent increase in call volume to its 1-800-QUIT NOW number.
How does that interest translate? The CDC estimates the campaign has saved as many as 330,000 years of life as a result of the number of smokers kicking the habit.
The 2013 anti-smoking campaign only lasted 16 weeks and cost $48 million to develop and implement, so the level of success is a huge win in raising awareness of the negative effects of tobacco use.