CDC Report Shows Continued… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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CDC Report Shows Continued Effectiveness, Outstanding Results of “Tips” Mass Media Ad Campaign – Program Needs Continued Support from Congress

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 24, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a comprehensive research study today detailing the proven successes of its “Tips from Former Smokers” media campaign and providing further evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the campaign. The results demonstrate the clear need to continue and even expand Tips and provide Congress with millions of reasons to ensure that Tips is sufficiently funded.

Last year, the House appropriations bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services sought to slash funding in half for CDC’s tobacco control work (including Tips). Fortunately, the final budget agreement rejected that proposal and provided $210 million for the program so the CDC could continue its successful and cost-effective work. Cuts to TIPS would protect the profits of the tobacco industry at the expense of programs that protect our nation’s health.

The new data show that as a result of the last phase of the 2014 Tips campaign, more than 1.8 million smokers tried to quit smoking and 104,000 smokers quit smoking. Over 1.7 million additional smokers intended to quit within six months after the end of the campaign. The quit attempt rate among smokers jumped by 17 percent after the ad campaign began.

Since 2012, CDC has aired this national tobacco education campaign to encourage quitting; the ads tell the harsh truth about how devastating and unglamorous smoking truly is by featuring former smokers discussing their graphic personal stories of confronting smoking-caused health issues.

Today’s research again shows “the value of sustained, long-term tobacco education campaigns” and how mass media campaigns are proven effective at reducing tobacco use and its terrible toll in health, lives and health care dollars.

We need these campaigns to counter the nearly $9.5 billion a year – more than $1 million every hour – the tobacco industry spends to market its deadly and addictive products. Tobacco companies never relent in trying to entice kids and keep their customers addicted. Efforts to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit must be equally sustained and aggressive.

Despite our nation’s enormous progress in reducing smoking, tobacco use still kills more than 480,000 Americans and costs us about $170 billion in health care bills each year. More than 60 percent of these costs are paid by taxpayers through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Earlier studies of the Tips ads’ effectiveness were just as impressive. In its first year, the Tips campaign helped 100,000 smokers to quit, thereby preventing an estimated 17,000 premature deaths, according to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The campaign is considered a public health “best buy” because it spent only $393 per year of life saved, far below the $50,000 that is an accepted benchmark for cost-effective public health programs.

Today’s results remind us that this battle is entirely winnable – and that the cost of failing to do so is far too high. We urge Congress to continue and expand support for campaigns like Tips from Former Smokers because they clearly save lives and money. Even in these days of extreme partisanship and disagreement, sustained support and funding for the Tips campaign should be something policymakers across the political spectrum can support.