The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest quit-smoking advertising campaign experienced success, and we felt it too over here at the American Cancer Society. On the days following the launch of the CDC’s “Tips from Former Smokers” ad campaign, calls to the American Cancer Society’s Quit For Life Program more than doubled – call volume rose from 11,508 to 21,683, an 88 percent increase.
In mid-March, the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) unveiled an ad campaign about the harmful effects of smoking. The ads feature disturbing real-life stories of former smokers dealing with smoking-related diseases such as lung and laryngeal cancer, heart attack, stroke, Buerger’s disease, and asthma. While the ads include the CDC’s Quitline number, it’s pleasantly surprising to see such impact on the Society’s Quit For Life program. In fact, the program continued to experience an overall rise in call volume (eight percent in the second week).
The impact of ad campaigns on behavior – whether it’s causing behavior change or influencing a purchase – is one of the success measures of any campaign, but experiencing what one would call a measurable secondary effect signifies even greater success. The more smokers we encourage to quit (and remain non-smokers), the closer we will get to eliminating one of the major, yet preventable causes of cancer and other diseases.