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CDC Readies Latest Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads

Seven new stories show the ravages of smoking, urge smokers to quit

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Amanda, a 30-year-old who smoked during her pregnancy, wants people to know how important it is to keep trying to quit the dangerous habit.

Her baby was born two months early, and spent weeks in an incubator.

"She wasn't born with the reflexes to talk or swallow, so she had to be tube-fed. She only weighed 3 pounds and she was in the intensive care unit for almost a month," Amanda said. "She suffers from asthma and allergies now."

"I want people to know that they can quit smoking," Amanda added. "Keep trying to quit and they will have a healthier life, and so will their children."

Amanda's compelling story is part of a new series of ads featuring former smokers whose lives have been harmed by tobacco, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

Since 2012, the campaign -- Tips From Former Smokers -- has been credited with helping hundreds of thousands of smokers quit, according to the campaign's creator, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new series of ads are set to start July 7.

The ads also feature:

  • Brett, 49, who lost most of his teeth to gum disease.
  • Brian, 45, whose smoking and HIV led to clogged blood vessels and a stroke.
  • Felicita, 54, who lost all of her teeth by age 50.
  • Rose, 59, whose lung cancer resulted in surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Shawn, 50, who breathes through an opening in his throat because of lung cancer.

Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said the new ads "feature a new group of people who are living with serious health consequences associated with smoking, but which are not as well known. For example, gum diseases with tooth loss, pre-term birth and complications associated with HIV and smoking."

"Tips From Former Smokers pulls back the curtain and reveals the reality of smoking -- addiction, painful disease and loss of loved ones," he added.

Another ad in the new campaign features Terrie Hall, whose gripping first ad in 2012 was witnessed by more than 2.8 million viewers on YouTube. In that first ad, she was shown putting on a wig, inserting false teeth and using a scarf to cover a hole in her throat.

In the new ad, Hall begs smokers to quit: "Keep trying until you succeed -- I don't want anybody to have to go through what I'm going through."

She died last September at the age of 53.

Vince Willmore, vice president for communications at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement, "These ads represent the kind of bold action needed to accelerate our nation's progress in reducing smoking and ultimately end the tobacco epidemic for good."

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