CDC's National Education Campaign an Historic Effort to Curb Tobacco Use

March 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC March 15, 2012  The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionäó»s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) this afternoon unveiled a federally-funded campaign aimed at educating the public about the harmful effects of smoking and living with a medical condition caused by smoking. The campaign, called Tips from Former Smokers, features a variety of real-life stories about people whose illnesses include lung and laryngeal cancer, heart attack, stroke, Buergeräó»s disease, and asthma. This campaign will encourage smokers to quit and discourage youth from taking up the deadly habit by illustrating the very real consequences of tobacco use, which causes more than 443,000 deaths in America each year, said John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). These graphic ads have the power to serve as a wake-up call for smokers and would-be tobacco users about tobaccoäó»s lethal impact on health, and they will serve as a powerful tool to help combat the nationwide tobacco epidemic. An estimated 3,800 kids pick up their first cigarette every day and 9 in 10 current smokers started before the age of 18. Nearly one in four high school seniors smoke and two new smokers under age 25 replace every person who dies from tobacco use. After years of progress, declines in the use of tobacco by youth and young adults have slowed for cigarette smoking and stalled for smokeless tobacco use. Ninety-nine percent of all first-time tobacco use occurs by age 26 and many of the long-term diseases associated with smoking, such as lung cancer, are more likely among those who begin to smoke earlier in life. Combating tobacco use requires a multi-pronged approach, including federal regulation of tobacco products, increased tobacco taxes, smoke-free workplaces, and sustained investment in prevention and cessation now and beyond the end of the CDC campaign, said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN. This historic advertising campaign will help to combat Big Tobaccoäó»s unscrupulous efforts to addict new users and prevent existing users from trying to quit. The advertising campaign will run nationwide for three months on television, radio, the internet and in print publications beginning Monday, March 19th.Œæ The ads will encourage those who want to quit to call their local Quit Line or log onto for cessation support. The ads can be previewed at: Evidence shows that advertising by Big Tobacco not only encourages youth to start using tobacco, but also encourages them to keep using these deadly and addictive products. Strong implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will rein in Big Tobaccoäó»s ability to market directly to our nationäó»s youth. Tobacco has historically been among the least regulated products sold in America - exempt from basic consumer protections such as ingredient disclosure, product testing, and restrictions on marketing to children. Major provisions of the law that are already in place include: äó¢ŒæŒæ ŒæA ban on candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes, which for decades were primarily marketed to attract and addict youth smokers äó¢ŒæŒæ ŒæA first-ever federal prohibition on cigarette and smokeless tobacco sales to minors äó¢ŒæŒæ ŒæA ban on all tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and cultural events äó¢ŒæŒæ ŒæA ban on virtually all free tobacco samples and giveaways of non-tobacco items, such as hats and T-shirts, with the purchase of tobacco Research has consistently shown that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent. ACS CAN has led the way in working with state legislatures to pass more than 100 cigarette tax increases in 47 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories since the beginning of 2002. The national cigarette tax average is $1.46 per pack, up from $1.34 at the end of 2009 and 61 cents at the end of 2002. Smoke-free workplaces and public places make it easier for smokers to quit and discourage kids from picking up this deadly habit.Œæ Since 2002, the Society and ACS CAN have helped 35 states, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia enact laws requiring that 100 percent of workplaces and/or restaurants and/or bars be smoke-free, protecting nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population from secondhand smoke. Currently, 23 of these states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have a statewide smoke-free law covering all three categories. Tobacco kills more than 443,000 Americans each year, causes nearly 90 percent of lung cancer deaths, and is responsible for nearly one-third of all cancers. Tobacco-related illnesses are expensive and impact is not isolated to smokers alone. Each year, nearly 50,000 non-smoking Americans die of secondhand smoke-caused illness, primarily lung cancer and heart disease. In the United States each year, tobacco use costs an estimated $193 billion in direct and indirect healthcare costs. Comprehensive, adequately funded tobacco control programs reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related disease and thereby reduce tobacco-related health care costs. ACS CAN challenges states to fund tobacco control programs at the CDC-recommended level or above. Currently, states spend only a small percentage of the revenues from tobacco taxes and Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payments on tobacco control. Alaska is the only state currently funding its tobacco prevention program above levels recommended by the CDC. Only six states are funding at even half of the CDCäó»s recommended levels. A comprehensive tobacco control effort is the only way to combat the relentless pursuit of tobacco companies to addict new, young smokers and keep current smokers hooked -- spending more than $10 billion a year - $29 million each day. The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nationäó»s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, about 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.Œæ ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alissa Crispino or Steven Weiss American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Phone: (202) 661-5772 or (202) 661-5711 Email: [email protected] or [email protected] #ACSCAN #ACS #tobacco #cdc #quitsmoking

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