Taniqua Russell, 35, has seen the graphic ads on television showing the effects of smoking, with spots featuring former smokers. The commercials, which ran last year and earlier this year, are part of a federally funded campaign to get smokers to quit. Russell, who's been smoking for 16 years, said they were hard to watch.
"When I see commercials like that, I turn," she said.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the 2012 ad campaign was a huge success. According to a new study, more than 1.5 million Americans tried to quit smoking because of the ads, and researchers estimate the commercials helped 100,000 people kick the habit for good.
"The TIPS campaign worked because it showed the reality of smoking," said Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC. "Suffering, disability, disfigurement, people not able to go about their daily lives."
The CDC says the ad campaign cost about $54 million, which health officials admit is a lot of money. But they say the tobacco industry spends that much on ads in three days.
But Taniqua Russell says the commercials have not helped her beat her addiction.
"I have tried to quit multiple times, it is extremely hard to do," she said. "I did it for 30 days and I failed."
Government health officials urge smokers like Russell to keep trying. And they plan another round of the ads next year.
Help to quit smoking - Vermont Quit Network: http://www.vtquitnetwork.org/
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