Hard-hitting TV ads against smoking do motivate smokers, like one mother from Elizabethtown, to quit

Hancock with CDC Director Tom Frieden

A 38-year-old Elizabethtown mother’s response to a federally funded anti-smoking advertising campaign has been featured in national news this week, showing that these graphic ads can motivate smokers to quit.

Lisha Hancock’s decision to stop her two-decade smoking habit was sparked by her viewing of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign commercial, reports Sarah Bennett of The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown.

Hancock’s husband often urged her to quit, and several of her relatives died from smoking, but she still didn’t quit. She continuously had a sore throat and clogged sinuses, but she still didn’t quit. Then, she saw the commercial.

The advertisement featured raw images of Terrie Hall, a North Carolina woman who was diagnosed with throat and oral cancers at age 40, getting ready in the morning by putting on a wig, artificial teeth an an artificial voice box inside a small hole in her neck, since throat cancer forced her to have her larynx removed.

TV spokeswoman Terrie Hall with grandson’s picture

“The only voice my grandson’s ever heard is this one,” Hall says in a robot-like voice, displaying his picture. UPDATE: Hall died Sept. 16.

The ad made a lasting impression on Hancock, who told Bennett she decided to quit smoking after watching the ad with her son: “One time my son asked me, ‘Mom, why does her voice sound like that?’ I said, ‘Because she smoked.’ Then he asked, ‘So you’ll sound like that?’”

Hancock said she had tried to quit before, but “There’s nothing that touched me like Terrie’s ad. It definitely impacted my life and, in return, impacted my family’s life. We all live happier and healthier now.”

Hancock started to quit eight months ago. Using nicotine lozenges and a combination of exercise and healthful eating, she’s been able to go without even one cigarette, reports Anahad O’Conner of The New York Times.

Others have also been struck by this hard-hitting campaign, which may have prompted more than 100,000 Americans to quit smoking permanently, says a new CDC study published in The Lancet, the leading British medical journal. The CDC says an estimated 1.6 million U.S. smokers attempted to quit this past year after viewing campaign materials funded by the Affordable Care Act.

“Hard-hitting ads work,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. The agency paid approximately $50 million to produce and place the spots, the first time the federal government funded a nationwide tobacco-education ad campaign, reports Jonathan Serrie of Fox News.

“The impact is huge because a smoker costs about $2,000 more [per year] than a non-smoker, and about $1,000 more than an ex-smoker, to care for,” Frieden said. “And if you do the math, this program pays for itself in a year or two in reduced health-care and societal expenditures.”

The campaign also saved an estimated 300,000 years of life that smoking-related diseases would have taken, reports Brady Dennis of The Washington Post. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 1,200 Americans each day, says the CDC.

Click here for the CDC ads and other smoking-cessation resources.

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *