The Centers for Disease Control has been delivering a hard hitting message about tobacco use through their “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign. The tips feature stories of former smokers who experienced major consequences after using tobacco: loss of limbs, lung disease, and even cancer. On March 30, the CDC will launch a brand new version of the anti-smoking ads but this time they plan to target electronic cigarettes.
The $68 million campaign will showcase the story of 35-year-old Kristy, a woman “who tried using e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes but ended up using both products instead.” She shares how her lung eventually collapsed and she was diagnosed with pulmonary disease. The CDC hopes to paint a picture that vaping is bad and won’t help people quit smoking. But the truth is that this woman’s health tragedies were the direct result of her tobacco use. It had nothing to do with her short-lived attempt at vaping.
The new ads will run for 20 weeks and you will find them on billboards, in print, online, and in radio and TV broadcasts. The American Lung Association spoke out recently in support of the new CDC ads. Erika Sward, the assistant vice president of advocacy, said, “This is really an industry, the larger tobacco industry with e-cigarettes, that threatens to get another generation addicted to nicotine.” Sward hopes the CDC campaign will help children to see the “dangers” of ecigarettes.
Over at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, President Matthew Myers is also hopeful that the new CDC ads will make a difference. He said the ecig companies are doing a lot of harm with advertising by “introducing the glamor and sex appeal to adolescents today that have never been exposed to cigarette advertising on TV.”
The CDC’s attempt to convince you to stay away from ecigs is definitely coming at a high price tag of $68 million. Last year’s campaign was estimated to help 100,000 people stop smoking, equaling about $480 per person impacted. CDC Director Tom Friedon justified the expense calling it a “best buy for public health”.
Do you agree with Tom Friedon? Is this really tax payer money well spent?