The ads feature sad, real-life stories: There is Terrie, a North Carolina woman who lost her voicebox. Bill, a diabetic smoker from Michigan who lost his leg. And Aden, a 7-year-old boy from New York, who has asthma attacks from secondhand smoke.
"Most smokers want to quit. These ads encourage them to try," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC campaign cost $48 million and includes TV, radio and online spots as well as print ads and billboards.
The spending comes as the agency is facing a tough budget squeeze, but officials say the ads should more than pay for themselves by averting future medical costs to society. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It's responsible for the majority of the nation's lung cancer deaths and is a deadly factor in heart attacks and a variety of other illnesses.
Last year's similar $54 million campaign was the agency's first and largest national advertising effort. The government deemed it a success: That campaign triggered an increase of 200,000 calls to quit lines. The CDC believes that likely prompted tens of thousands of smokers to quit based on calculations that a certain percentage of callers do actually stop.
Like last year, the current 16-week campaign spotlights real people who were hurt and disfigured by smoking. Terrie Hall, a 52-year-old throat cancer survivor makes a repeat performance. She had her voice box removed about a dozen years ago.
In last year's ad there's a photo of her as a youthful high school cheerleader. Then she is seen more recently putting on a wig, inserting false teeth and covering the hole in her neck with a scarf. It was, by far, the campaign's most popular spot, as judged by YouTube viewings and Web clicks.
In a new ad, Hall addresses the camera, speaking with the buzzing sound of her electrolarynx. She advises smokers to make a video of themselves now, reading a children's book or singing a lullaby. "I wish I had. The only voice my grandson's ever heard is this one," her electric voice growls.
One difference from last year: The new campaign tilts more toward the impact smokers have on others. One ad features a Kentucky high school student who suffers asthma attacks from being around cigarette smoke. Another has a Louisiana woman who was 16 when her mother died from smoking-related causes.
The return of the campaign is already being applauded by some anti-smoking advocates, who say tobacco companies spend more on tobacco product promotion in a week than the CDC spends in a year.
After decades of decline, the adult smoking rate has stalled at roughly 20 percent in recent years. Advocates say the campaign provides a necessary jolt to a weary public that has been listening to government warnings about the dangers of smoking for nearly 50 years.
"There is an urgent need to continue this campaign," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.
It would seem like a bad time for the CDC to be buying air time - the agency is facing roughly $300 million in budget cuts as part of the government's sequestration cuts in federal spending. However, the ad money comes not from the CDC's regular budget but from a special $1 billion public health fund set up years ago through the Affordable Care Act. The fund has set aside more than $80 million for CDC smoking prevention work.
Frieden argues that the ads are extremely cost-effective - spending about $50 million a year to save potentially tens of thousands of lives.
"We're trying to figure out how to have more impact with less resources," he said.
The ads direct people to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. PlowShare Group, of Stamford, Conn., is again the advertising company that put the ads together. ---
Homeowners who live near a Bridgeton landfill should learn more about what Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has planned concerning their complaints. Koster will speak with reporters later this morning about the stench that has lingered for months.
The Department of Natural Resources recently ran test of the area. State officials determined the area tested for high levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. Hydrogen sulfide often causes headaches and irritation to eyes, nose and throat.
The DNR then sent the findings to Koster’s office.Republic Services owns the Bridgeton Landfill. The company sent a statement that said there is no proof the hydrogen sulfide in the air is from their landfill.
Florissant Police Department now has a prescription/non-prescription drug disposal box permanently located in the lobby of the Florissant Police station.
This box was the first one given to a municipality by the Missouri Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal organization, the largest organization of its kind in the United States.
Florrisant police Chief Timothy J. Lowery and Mayor Thomas P. Schneider say the box provides a safe location for citizens to properly dispose of unused prescription/non-prescription medications and an environmentally safe alternative to disposing of both prescription non-prescription medications in landfills and sewer systems which may negatively affect the environment.
The secured, steel collection box in the lobby of the police department is accessible to citizens any time of the day or night 365 days a year. Once collected, the drugs will be properly disposed of by incineration.
Items that will be accepted include:
All over-the-counter medications
Vitamins and supplements
Medicated ointments, lotions, creams, and oils
Liquid medications in leak-proof containers
Homeopathic and herbal remedies
Items that are not accepted include:
Syringes with needles
IV bags and tubing
Bloody or infectious waste
Personal care products
Aerosol cans and inhalers