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Study: National Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign Led 200,000 to Quit

ATLANTA -- A 2012 national anti-smoking campaign spurred an estimated 1.6 million smokers to attempt to quit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As a result of the organization's "Tips From Former Smokers" effort, more than 200,000 Americans quit smoking immediately following the three-month advertising campaign, of which researchers estimate that more than 100,000 will likely quit smoking permanently, a CDC study found. These results exceed the campaign's original goal of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits.

The CDC study surveyed thousands of adult smokers and nonsmokers before and after the advertisements began. The Tips campaign, which aired from March 19 to June 10, 2012, marked the first time a federal agency developed and placed paid ads for a national tobacco education campaign, according to a CDC release.

The ads featured stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. The campaign encouraged people to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit a quit-assistance website.

The CDC study on its impact was published today by the medical journal, The Lancet.

"This is exciting news. Quitting can be hard and I congratulate and celebrate with former smokers. This is the most important step you can take to a longer, healthier life," said CDC Director Tom Frieden. "I encourage anyone who tried to quit to keep trying -- it may take several attempts to succeed."

According to the study, almost 80 percent of smokers and almost 75 percent of nonsmokers recalled seeing at least one of the ads during the three-month campaign. Calls to the quitline more than doubled and visits to the website were more than five times higher than for the same 12-week period in 2011, the CDC said.

The Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund paid for the $54-million Tips 2012 campaign. A second set of Tips ads aired earlier this year and plans are underway for a new set of Tips ads in 2014. The CDC will release the initial results of the 2013 ads later this year.

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