Smokers quitting thanks to ‘Tips From Former Smokers’

The diabetic who is blind in one eye and walks with a prosthetic leg. The teenager hospitalized from an asthma attack. The woman who speaks using a voice box.

Most people saw at least one of the powerful public service announcements warning of the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the campaign – called “Tips From Former Smokers” – last year. The commercials aired from March 19 to June 10, 2012.

The CDC surveyed thousands of adult smokers and nonsmokers before and after the campaign, and according to the survey, more than 200,000 Americans quit smoking immediately following the three-month campaign. Of those, researchers estimate that more than 100,000 will likely quit smoking permanently.

The CDC also reports an estimated 1.6 million smokers attempted to quit after the national ad campaign.

Those numbers far exceeded the campaign’s original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits, according to the CDC.

The CDC estimates that, by quitting, former smokers added more than a third of a million years of life to the U.S. population.

The  campaign was the first time a federal agency had developed and placed paid advertisements for a national tobacco education campaign. If you missed the ads, you can watch them on the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers site.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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