Government Ad Campaign Questions Role of E-Cigarettes in Smoking Cessation

A new government anti-smoking campaign will include radio and print ads that question e-cigarettes’ value in helping smokers quit.

The campaign is the latest installment of the “Tips From Former Smokers” series from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to The Wall Street Journal. The series was launched in 2012 to highlight tobacco’s dangers.

One of the new ads features Kristy, a 35-year-old who tried using e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes but ended up using both products instead of quitting. Kristy then suffered a collapsed lung, and was diagnosed with early chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before she quit smoking completely. In the ad caption, Kristy says, “I started using e-cigarettes but kept smoking. Right up until my lung collapsed.”

Tim McAfee, senior medical officer at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, says the agency decided to include e-cigarettes because the majority of users are not quitting smoking. “Our core message is cutting down is not sufficient,” he said.

In a news release, the CDC notes that nationally, about three in four adult e-cigarette users also smoke cigarettes. “If you only cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke by adding another tobacco product, like e-cigarettes, you still face serious health risks. Smokers must quit smoking completely to fully protect their health — even a few cigarettes a day are dangerous,” the CDC states.

The ads will run starting March 30 for 20 weeks.

In December, the CDC announced “Tips From Former Smokers” cost just $480 per smoker who quit and $393 per year of life saved. The anti-tobacco ad campaign, which featured graphic images, helped 100,000 people quit smoking, the CDC said. An estimated 1.6 million people tried to quit smoking after they saw the anti-smoking ad campaign. Almost 80 percent of American smokers saw the 2012 campaign.

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    Carol Meyer-Niedzwiecki

    April 7, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Are e-cigarettes healthier than cigarettes? That’s everyone’s question. From responder points, more education obviously needs to get out there. E-cigs contain many of the same chemicals as cigarettes do. Even tho you don’t SEE smoke does not mean harmful chemicals are not present. While not all, many smokers are tending to keep e-cigs in their mouths for more extended periods than they would a cigarette = not healthy. Young people think they’re healthier – really?! Healthier than not smoking?!…………please!!! The safest, healthiest thing to do is deal with the many issues of tobacco addiction and aim to quit totally. It can be done. I support everyone who tries……even if over and over. It can happen.

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    Jim Dickey

    March 27, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    This statement implies a dishonest agenda: ““If you only cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke by adding another tobacco product, like e-cigarettes, you still face serious health risks. Smokers must quit smoking completely to fully protect their health — even a few cigarettes a day are dangerous,” the CDC states.w”. The implication is that smoking only a few cigarettes is as bad as smoking lots of cigarettes, which is false. I notice you don’t hear anything about people cutting down with nicotine gum or patches.

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    Fr. Jack Kearney

    March 26, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    I guess denial serves both addicts and bureaucrats. Both research and common sense show that ecigs help people quit smoking…..and calling ecigs a “tobacco” product when there is no smoke and no tobacco….well, that takes a special kind of twist of logic that only lawyers, politicians and bureaucrats could muster.

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