The CDC'S Scary-Ass Anti-Smoking Commercials Are Working

The CDC's graphic television spots —featuring personal stories from people dealing with the horrifying physical consequences of smoking cigarettes — have effectively freaked people out enough to make them quit.


The ads, which the CDC began running in 2012 as part of its Tips From Former Smokers campaign, may have prompted more than 100,000 smokers to stub out their addictions, according to a new study.

The study, led by a team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, surveyed 5,300 Americans before and after the campaign, including 3,000 smokers. The paid ads ran for three months beginning in March, just after the New Year resolution season, when the percentage of smokers trying to quit is typically on the decline.

The researchers found that over all, four of five of smokers had seen the commercials, and the percentage who reported trying to quit rose by 12 percent. Of those who tried to quit, about 13 percent remained abstinent after the campaign had ended.


The ads are noteworthy for their raw imagery of its subjects removing body false body parts and speaking with voice boxes. Additionally, the nationwide commercials mark the first time that the government has put money behind attacking the tobacco industry.

Graphic Ads Motivate Smokers to Quit [NYT]

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I hated these. I muted them or changed the channel whenever they came on. I did quit smoking but I can't say it had anything to do with the commercials. I also don't really like the word quit since it doesn't really feel like that's what I did. I didn't use patches or gum or even really try or anything I just kind of... stopped. I don't feel like I'm on a wagon and I definitely think I'll probably have a smoke or two now and again if I feel like it. I don't do it habitually anymore but I'm an adult who occasionally partakes in things. Does anyone else feel like this? Like "quit" is the wrong word?