CDC: Evocative Campaign Motivates Smokers to Quit

Calls and visits to Tips website surges during anti-smoking campaign

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THURSDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The Tips from Former Smokers (Tips) television campaign, which features true stories of former smokers living with the unfortunate consequences of their past habit, appears to motivate smokers to seek information through quitlines and the Internet, according to a report published in the Sept. 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In an effort to assess the Tips campaign's impact, Stephen Babb, M.P.H., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed the number of weekly calls to the national telephone quitline and the number of weekly new visitors to the Tips website during the four weeks prior to the campaign, the 16 weeks of the campaign's duration, and the four weeks that followed.

Calls and website visits increased by 75 percent during the campaign and quickly fell to almost pre-campaign levels afterward. The researchers surmised that the campaign inspired an additional 151,536 callers and nearly 2.8 million unique web visitors above non-campaign levels. Furthermore, weekly call volumes fluctuated wildly, falling 38 percent during the six weeks when televised ads did not run.

"These results suggest that emotionally evocative tobacco education media campaigns featuring graphic images of the health effects of smoking can increase quitline calls and website visits and that these campaigns' effects decrease rapidly once they are discontinued," the authors write.

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