health
1:59 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Grim but blunt anti-smoking ads showing early signs of success

A new national ad campaign to get people to quit smoking is already showing dramatic results in Michigan.

The Center for Disease Control launched the ads two weeks ago. They feature former smokers who’ve had heart attacks, strokes or parts of their bodies amputated because of tobacco use.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says the number of calls coming into the Michigan Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) has skyrocketed.

“We’ve had a 200-percent increase in the two weeks since the campaign has launched and that’s not something that we’ve ever seen before,” Minicuci said. She said the early results are similar across the country.

Through the tobacco quit line, people can get resources to help quit smoking. The department says more than 67,000 people called the Michigan Tobacco Quitline since 2003.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Michigan, killing more than 14,300 residents every year. Cigarette smoking costs Michigan $3.4 billion in direct medical costs and $3.95 billion in lost productivity each year. Still, nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit, and half make a serious quit attempt each year.

The ads are more personal and blunt than any other campaign targeting smokers in the past. “You hear about all these side effects from smoking but you don’t actually get to see it on a day to day basis and these ads really show all the devastating side effects,” Minicuci said.

The ads will keep running in Michigan for at least another ten weeks.