Photo by Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday unveiled its first national advertising blitz, a $54-million anti-smoking campaign complete with graphic images of smoking-related ailments.
CDC director Thomas Frieden told Reuters and others that the 12-week campaign is designed to combat the estimated $10 billion in advertising dollars tobacco companies shell out each year.
The ads immediately drew attention because of their disturbing content, including a man shaving around a tracheotomy hole in his neck and a double amputee. But Frieden says the attention-grabbing approach has proved effective in similar health-related campaigns elsewhere.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had been set to require similarly graphic images on all cigarette products, but that effort was shut down by a federal judge on first amendment grounds last month. The CDC said its efforts are unrelated.
Reuters notes that smoking rates have leveled off recently after years of decline, with about 20 percent of adults said to be regular smokers. The CDC hopes that its ads—set to run in traditional media and online via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—will convince 50,000 people to quit.
The campaign includes "tips" from former smokers accompanying the graphic photos, such as this one: