The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 45 million adults and 3 million high-school students smoke cigarettes. How do you cut into those numbers? The feds' latest approach hopes to shock smokers out of the habit. It follows a recent advertising campaign that's sparking complaints from TV viewers.
Health organizations have been running anti-smoking advertisements for decades. But the most recent offerings are certainly striking a chord.
One ad features an actor wheezing loudly, portraying a man with emphysema. It's been running on L.A.-area TV stations and proving to be too graphic for some viewers.
Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is rolling out its own series of anti-smoking spots. It's a new $54-million advertising campaign featuring smokers who've paid dearly due to smoking-related diseases, people who've lost limbs or had parts of their throats removed.
Beginning next Monday, the ads will run for at least 12 weeks on television and radio and in magazines and newspapers.
"When those commercials are so graphic, you just look away. You don't even process the message because it's so gross that you're just like, 'I don't want to think about it,'" said Silver Lake resident Miranda Freiberg.
"The videos, all these laws and these rules, they aren't going to change it. If you want to smoke, you're going to smoke, regardless of the consequences," said Glendale resident Johnny Webster.
Federal health officials are standing by the ads, saying it's important that people see the painful consequences of smoking.
"We hope these ads will be a wakeup call for the smokers and the potential smokers who are not yet aware of the enormous damage they may be doing to their health," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Recent studies show that Americans are not heeding warnings about the dangers of cigarette smoking. The latest U.S. Surgeon General report says smoking among America's youth has reached epidemic proportions.
The CDS has set its sights high for this campaign. Officials are hoping the ads will sway more than half a million people to quit smoking.