Talk With a Voice Box? Ads Scared the Pants Off Smokers; Many Quit

You've seen them.  The commercials where the woman talks about losing her fingers, the obese one about having to have her son wash her and take care of her toileting needs because she's confined to bed. The one I find the most horrifying, the woman who has to hold an artificial voice box to her throat to talk, her voice a mechanical, unhuman sound.

Seems they've worked. More than 200,000 Americans quit smoking after the graphic, federally-funded, anti-cigarette ads ran earlier this year, according to Brady Dennis at The Washington Post.

“The TIPS campaign surpassed our expectations,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden told reporters in a call Monday, saying the results represented more than a doubling of initial goals, Dennis notes. “That’s a tremendous success story. These are Americans that will live longer lives, healthier lives with lower health-care costs.”

Even better, 100,000 more are expected to quit.

"The $54 million ad series, which ended in June 2012, featured stark images and emotional pleas from ex-smokers suffering from a variety of ailments, including amputated limbs, oral and throat cancer, paralysis, lung damage, strokes, and heart attacks," Dennis writes.

The CDC study surveyed a randomly selected group of 3,000 smokers and 2,200 non-smokers after the ad campaign ran.  The success was so great, Dennis reports, that "officials said the campaign saved an estimated 300,000 years of life that otherwise would have been lost to smoking-related disease."

“This study shows that we save a year of life for less than $200. That makes it one of the most cost-effective prevention efforts,” Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health and lead author of the study, said in a statement Monday.  


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