Top Menu

CDC: Graphic Anti-Smoking Campaign Successful, More Ads Coming Next Year


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday its graphic ad campaign featuring the health consequences of smoking has been successful, and plans more ads for 2013, USA Today reports.

The ads ran for three months earlier this year, at a cost of $54 million. The campaign’s goal was to convince 500,000 people to try quitting smoking, and 50,000 to quit long-term, the article notes.

“The initial results suggest the impact will be even greater than that,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. The ads showed smokers who spoke about how smoking caused health problems including paralysis, lung removal and amputations.

According to the CDC, call volume to its national toll-free quit line, 800-QUIT-NOW, more than doubled while the ads ran. The hotline received an additional 192,000 calls, while the government’s smoking cessation website,, received 417,000 new visitors—triple its previous traffic.

9 Responses to this article

  1. Carol / August 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Adolph Hitler would be so proud to see the followers of his loathsome political ideology, his propaganda methods and his fraudulent health beliefs in the drivers’ seat in the United States of America in the 21st Century.

  2. smartin / August 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Why would the CDC and HHS and FDA be promoting (lobbying) for smoking bans with public funds? Our friends in pharma and their “philanthropic arms” are making a fortune, after bans, selling NRT and Chantix.
    Dr Satcher, ex Surgeon General is sitting on the CDC Advisory Board AND the Board of J&J at this time. Money makes the world go round. Too bad they don’t tell smokers that cold turkey is PROVEN to be the ONLY effective way to quit smoking. No money in that I guess?

  3. Chad / August 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I appreciate the comments of other posters. I suppose I just hate seeing so much money spent on people who choose to harm themselves.

  4. maxwood / August 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    If the gruesome pictures work, go ahead, but please consider that positive information– on how to make and use a personal vaporizer (or 25-mg “one-hitter”) in lieu of the hot burning overdose 700-mg $igarette– could be provided in some of the ads.

  5. Avatar of Polly Robinson
    Polly Robinson / August 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Chad – $1080 is cheap compared to the costs of tobacco to society; it is nothing compared to the cost of one getting COPD, heart disease, any number of cancers, or increasing chances for their children to have SIDS, asthma, behavioral problems, or other tobacco-related illnesses. The problem with your anti-hamburger argument is that secondhand hamburger eating usually does not hurt anyone; however, secondhand smoking does. Each of us pays ~$515 per year to pay for the health-related costs of smokers. It should be un-American to use a product that harms others every time you use it, for which there is no safe level of usage, and that costs everyone whether they use the product or not. Hamburgers in moderation will not hurt you, but there is no safe level of tobacco smoke – first or secondhand. However, I proudly admit I’d support commercials encouraging children to eat right and exercise, and if that means showing an obese person eating a hamburger and then showing the results and costs of heart disease, that is fine with me, too.

  6. Dee / August 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    These graphic campaigns get through to people on a level that words alone cannot! And the potential savings in health care costs (to say nothing of lost work productivity) for just one person’s cancer would be tens of thousands of dollars. These public health interests, which include helping protect people from the physical and emotional impacts of cancer (as well as the financial ones) certainly seem to me worth far more that $1,080 per person (if 50,000) quit. Many dangerous activities are legal, because we credit people with the ability to make informed choices. But that assumption suggests that the people are well informed, and repeatedly so, in the context of a powerful craving!

  7. Avatar of Lisa
    Lisa / August 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

    It appears we have come full circle with graphic ads making a comeback. Question is, do they influence young people not to start?

  8. Chad / August 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I think the advertising campaigns are a huge expense that does little. Even if all 50,000 quit long term as they hoped, that is at a cost of $1,080 per person. As far as the increased traffic at the site, that could be kids who wanted to watch the “gross” video. I find it odd the government spends money to get people to not use a legal product. Next, the commercials will be anti-hamburger and show fat people with heart disease and breathing problems.

  9. Jim / August 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks Polly, I said the same thing yesterday but my comment was moderated out of the website. Let us not forget that smoke that settles on the environment also is a source of diseases (tertiary source, third hand smoke).

Leave a Reply

Please read our comment policy and guidelines before you submit a comment. Your email address will not be published. Thank you for visiting

four − 1 =

Reproduction in whole or in part of this publication is strictly prohibited without prior consent. Photographic rights remain the property of Join Together and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. For reproduction inquiries, please e-mail