Smoking Ads Effecting Alabamians

By: Muriel Bailey Email
By: Muriel Bailey Email

You've seen them, commercials that feature real people who developed cancer and other complications from smoking.

"The reality of tobacco is not pretty, it's not something that should be sugarcoated," said Tobacco Prevention & Control manager Michelle Garrett.

It's a 12 week campaign that launched in March.
One Judy Giller says she could have used years ago.

"I know if I had seen those ads when i was growing up I believe I would have quit smoking, honestly," explained Giller.

Fortunately, 13 years ago she stopped on her own.
Health officials say the effectiveness of the campaign is evident among Alabamians.
In February, before the ads launched, the quit line received a little more than 1,400 calls.

"This April that has exceeded 3,000 calls, and we know that it's related to the media campaign because the counselors will ask where did you hear about this and they'll say from the commercials," said Garrett.

Even though kids don't make those calls, the effect the ads have on them is just as visible.

"I have heard so many kids talking about those commercials, said Giller,
They say I'm never going to smoke, that ladies not old and she's got fake teeth."

That's something educators want them to see.

"As a health educator I can preach statistics all day long but there is nothing that is going to be quite as effective as seeing someone who's actually living with illness."

The CDC says the main goal is to encourage people to quit, or even better, to not start at all.

Two weeks after the campaign began, the 1-800-QUIT NOW line received more than 34,000 calls nationally. Which was double the number of calls 1 week before the campaign started.

If you'd like help to quit smoking, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or you can go online to smoke-free dot gov.

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