CDC to launch a multi-million dollar anti-smoking campaign

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a multi-million dollar anti-smoking campaign Thursday.

The campaign comes after the Surgeon General's 2012 report on youth tobacco use revealed the decline rates of teens who smoke has slowed in the past 10 years.

According to the CDC, more than 600, 000 middle school students and more than 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes.

The $54 million national campaign, called "Tips From Former Smokers", is the first paid anti-smoking media campaign. It will feature people who have had limb amputations, paralysis and lung removal. Video profiles and photos of people living with smoking-related illnesses will be available on several platforms, television, radio, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Arkansas State University junior Tiara Norman believes pictures can do what words cannot."I think it brings reality to the smokers because sometimes we don't understand the things that are happening to our body until we see it."

One video features 51-year-old Terrie Norman, an emaciated, bald woman who wears a wig, false teeth and a robotic voice box.

ASU Department of Psychology and Counseling assistant professor Sharon Davis said research has shown that using graphic images for a good cause sometimes works, and sometimes, it does not.

"Those do work on some people. They're not completely ineffective, particularly on young people who haven't already started smoking. Then, there's this other segment of the population, they don't really respond to scare tactics. If you say something bad will happen to you if you smoke a cigarette, they don't necessarily really take that to heart."

Matt white thinks the campaign could prevent kids from ever lighting up in the first place, but convincing smokers to quit is an uphill battle.

"Before they start smoking, they'll see some of this, and say, 'Well maybe really I don't want to smoke, but as far as me, or some of the people I meet that smoke, that's not determined to quit smoking, I don't think it'd have too much effect on. Just because, we're smoking. We're going to do what we're going to do anyway."

Click here to see more campaign videos and photos.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.