[Mangilao, Guam] – Continuing with the success of last year’s landmark national tobacco education campaign, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is airing a second series of ads featuring real people who are living with the effects of smoking-related diseases. The newest ads in the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign tell the story of how real people’s lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. In Guam, 365 residents die every year from smoking-related diseases. That’s one death a day. The new ads will air from April 1 to June 23.
“These ads tell the stories of brave people struggling with the health consequences of smoking-related diseases — the kinds of smoking-related diseases doctors see every day,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H, Director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “The former smokers in these ads give voice to the more than 8 million Americans who are suffering from smoking-related chronic diseases each and every day."
The ads feature smoking-related health conditions— including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, more severe adult asthma, and complications from diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputation—and candidly describe the losses from smoking and the gains from quitting. The ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669), a toll-free number to access free quit support to residents of Guam, or visit www.cdc.gov/tips to view the personal stories from the campaign and for free help quitting.
The new ads include people from population groups that were not included in last year’s ads, including American Indian/Alaska Native and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender communities. Smoking rates among these groups are higher than in the overall population.
“These ads are effective in bringing to life the devastating effects of smoking, helping people quit and never start,” says James Gillan, Director of the Department of Public Health and Social Services. “We cannot wait any longer to help people to quit smoking. As a public health official, I know all too well the terrible toll of smoking. The Department of Public Health and Social Services is committed to helping the island community know the reality of smoking-related disease and death – and to prevent these realities from happening to them.”
This campaign is saving lives and saving dollars by giving people the facts about smoking in an easy-to-understand way that encourages quitting. It also serves as an important to counter the roughly $1 million an hour spent by the tobacco industry promoting and marketing cigarettes. More than 440,000 Americans each year lose their lives to smoking-related diseases, and for every one death there are 20 more living with one or more illnesses caused by smoking. Almost 90% of these smokers started in their teens, and many are experiencing life-changing effects at a relatively early age. Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, one in five adults on Guam still smoke, and every day over 1,000 youth nationally under 18 become daily smokers.
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body.
A “tip” from Bill, the 40-year old ad participant with diabetes: “Make a list. Put the people you love at the top. Put down your eyes, your legs, your kidneys, and your heart. Now cross off all the things you’re OK with losing because you’d rather smoke.”
Nearly 70% of smokers say they want to quit. This national education campaign will provide them with information and resources to do so.
For more information on the campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, links to the ads, and free quit help, visit www.cdc.gov/tips. For more information on the Tobacco Free Guam Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW), contact Christopher Surla, Health Educator, Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at 735-7334.