THURSDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A frank and graphic nationwide media campaign to motivate smokers to quit seems to be working, say researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The public health initiative, known as Tips From Former Smokers, was launched by the CDC in March and ran until mid-June. A dozen or so ex-smokers offered very personal and often harrowing testimonials on the devastating health consequences that can result from years of tobacco use. Participants were featured in multiple 30-second televised public service announcements, radio commercials and web and print ads.
Now, a post-campaign assessment of its impact on a target audience of 18- to 54-year-old smokers suggests that the effort did indeed boost awareness -- and perhaps even changed behavior.
No one is more pleased by, or proud of, such evidence of the campaign's success than participant and former smoker Terrie Hall.
"When they asked me to be a part of this campaign I had no idea of the impact that they would have," Hall said. "I had no idea of the overwhelming and unbelievable experience that I would have with it. I feel like the CDC really did an outstanding job of telling people what it's like if you smoke, and what can happen if you smoke."
For this Lexington, N.C., resident, what happened was cancer.
"I've had it 10 times now," Hall said, her voice stressed and labored as a permanent consequence of throat cancer and the laryngectomy surgery she had many years ago. The surgery resulted in the removal of her voice box (larynx), meaning that today she must breath through an opening in her neck and speak with mechanical assistance.
"Everything that's happened to me has come from the fact that I smoked cigarettes," Hall said. "That means that every day I have to put in my teeth, I have to put in a talking device in my neck, I have to wear a wig. That's h
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