ATLANTA, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- This year's graphic, emotional ads showing real people living with smoking-related diseases generated 150,000 calls to smoking quitlines, U.S. officials say.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Tips From Former Smokers campaign -- which ran for 16 weeks, March 4 through June 23 -- produced more than 150,000 additional calls to (800) QUIT-NOW, which links callers to their state quitlines.
Findings published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report also said the campaign generated almost 2.8 million additional visitors to the campaign website, www.cdc.gov/tips. The website features information on the campaign, as well as information on how to quit smoking from the National Cancer Institute's www.smokefree.gov website.
The figures represent a 75 percent increase in call volume and a nearly 38-fold increase in unique website visitors, compared with the four weeks before the campaign began, the CDC said. The analysis also found average weekly calls fell by 41 percent and website visitors fell by 96 percent during the four weeks after the campaign ended.
This year's campaign's television component included national ads in all 210 U.S. television markets and additional local ads in 67 of these markets. The television ads aired on a one-week-on, one-week-off basis for the first 12 weeks of the campaign, while the local television ads ran continuously throughout the campaign, the report said.
"The TIPS campaign continues to be a huge success, saving tens of thousands of lives and millions of dollars; I wish we had the resources to run it all year long," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "Most Americans who have ever smoked have already quit, and most people who still smoke want to quit."