WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that it is launching a new round of its nationwide media campaign – Tips from Former Smokers (TIPS) – to encourage smokers to quit and prevent children from starting to smoke. We applaud the CDC for continuing this highly effective campaign for a second year, and for recognizing that winning the fight against tobacco requires a sustained commitment and investment of resources.
The CDC's campaign is a smart investment that will save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs, which total $96 billion a year in the United States. Tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion a year – nearly $1 million every hour – to market their deadly and addictive products, often in ways that entice kids. The CDC's campaign tells the harsh truth about how devastating and unglamorous cigarette smoking truly is.Last year's 12-week advertising campaign was highly effective in motivating smokers to try to quit. While the ads aired, the government's toll-free quitline received more than 365,000 calls, a 132 percent increase compared to the same period in 2011. The government's quit-smoking website received almost 630,000 unique visitors during the campaign, a 428 percent increase compared to the same 2011 period. Research indicates the most effective anti-smoking media campaigns evoke strong emotions and realistically depict the devastating health consequences of tobacco use – just as the new CDC ads do. These ads offer smokers encouragement and help in quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting www.smokefree.gov. There is an urgent need to continue this campaign. While the U.S. has made enormous progress in reducing tobacco use, smoking declines have slowed in recent years as states have slashed funding for tobacco prevention programs and the tobacco industry has continued its aggressive marketing. Tobacco is still the nation's number one cause of preventable death, killing 443,000 Americans each year.