Media campaigns encouraging tobacco users to stop
Last fall the Food and Drug Administration began requiring tobacco industries to incorporate graphic images on all cigarette packs. The requirement, which was part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in June 2009, forces tobacco industries to have the graphic warning labels on at least 50 percent of the cigarette packaging by September 2012.
It turns out the FDA is not the only federal agency using graphic images, as the Centers for Disease Control launched its Tips from Former Smokers Campaign in March and has reported that calls to its quit-smoking hotline have doubled since the ads aired.
The Tips Campaign shares the truth about smoking and the harmful effects of tobacco use through the stories of real people who are currently suffering the effects of their choices. The CDC says that it is using the campaign at the suggestion of the Institute of Medicine, National Cancer Institute and Surgeon General who all recommended that hard-hitting national media campaigns would raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and encourage tobacco dependents to quit.
"Although they may be tough to watch, the ads show people living with real, painful consequences from smoking," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, M.P.H. in a press release statement. "For every one person who dies from tobacco, 20 are disabled or disfigured or have a disease that is unpleasant, painful, expensive. There is sound evidence that supports these ads - and, based on the increase in calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, we're on our way to helping more smokers quit."
According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The CDC also estimates that tobacco use costs our nation's economy approximately $200 billion each year ($96 billion in health care costs and an additional $97 billion in lost productivity). Because it is a preventable illness, employers and health insurance providers have begun working together to provide incentives for insurance recipients to quit tobacco use if they are currently addicted.
Locally, the city of Dyersburg began working with its employees on July 1 to assist them in stopping their or their dependent's tobacco use. The city also passed a ban on tobacco use in city facilities, vehicles and equipment. Under the new policies city employees will have between July 1 and Dec. 31 to receive aids that will help them eliminate their dependency on tobacco. On Jan. 1, 2013 city employees will be assessed a $5 surcharge on their health care deductions if they are still using tobacco products.
Tobacco dependents that are interested in receiving help can find more information at http://www.smokefree.gov or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Information for this article was obtained through www.cdc.gov.