The ads began March 19 on television, radio, online and billboards, as well as in theaters, magazines and newspapers nationwide.
Called “Tips from Smokers,” the campaign will show former smokers living with diseases and disabilities. Specifically, the smokers suffer from lung and throat cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other diseases. They talk about such things as getting dressed when you have a surgical opening in your neck or artificial limbs. They also talk about their reasons for quitting.
The ads will include the 1-800-QUIT-NOW hotline number that offer support for those who want to stop smoking and the http://www.smokefree.gov/ web site.
“Hundreds of thousands of lives are lost each year due to smoking, and for every person who dies, 20 more Americans live with an illness caused by smoking,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement. “We cannot afford to continue watching the human and economic toll from tobacco rob our communities of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and co-workers. We are committed to doing everything we can to help smokers quit and prevent young people from starting in the first place.”
Health officials say smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. It kills 443,000 a year and costs $96 billion in direct medical costs and $97 in lost productivity annually.
Government data shows more than 8 million Americans have smoking related diseases.