CDC Campaign Returns with Powerful Stories, Michigan Resident to Help Others Quit Smoking

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 9, 2013

LANSING - Continuing with the success of last year's landmark national tobacco education campaign, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is airing a second series of ads featuring real people who are living with the effects of smoking-related diseases. The newest ads in the "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign tell the story of how real people's lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and this year feature a Michigan resident. The new ads will air from April 1 to June 23.

"These ads tell the stories of brave people struggling with the health consequences of smoking-related diseases --- the kinds of smoking-related diseases doctors see every day," said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H, Director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "The former smokers in these ads give voice to the more than 8 million Americans who are suffering from smoking-related chronic diseases each and every day."

In the CDC's newest ads, Bill, a Michigan resident is featured. Bill started smoking when he was 15, but now wishes he could take it back. Bill also has diabetes and over the years, has learned that smoking makes diabetes harder to control. At 37 he went blind in his left eye from a detached retina, has also had kidney failure, and two years later, he had his leg amputated due to poor circulation - made worse from smoking. His life is very different now. He is married and the father of four children.

"Make a list. Put the people you love at the top. Put down your eyes, your legs, your kidneys, and your heart. Now cross off all the things you're OK with losing because you'd rather smoke," said Bill. "Smoking is a nasty addiction. It's not cool, and it doesn't do anybody any good. Don't ever start smoking."

The ads feature smoking-related health conditions- including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, more severe adult asthma, and complications from diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputation-and candidly describe the losses from smoking and the gains from quitting.

"Here in Michigan, we've steadily watched our smoking rate decline in our state. That said, roughly 23 percent of Michigan residents still smoke, and that's just too many," said James K. Haveman, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. "The CDC's campaign has drawn significant attention to the real life implications of smoking, and we're grateful to Bill for stepping up to represent Michigan and help save the lives of countless others."

More than 440,000 Americans each year lose their lives to smoking-related diseases, and for every one death there are 20 more living with one or more illnesses caused by smoking. Almost 90 percent of these smokers started in their teens, and many are experiencing life-changing effects at a relatively early age. Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, nearly one in five adults in the United States still smoke, and every day more than 1,000 youth under 18 become daily smokers. Nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit. This national education campaign will provide them with information and resources to do so.

Michigan residents are encouraged to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to for free support to help them quit. To learn more about Bill, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/stories/bill.html or www.michigan.gov/tobacco. For more information about the campaign, including profiles of all featured former smokers, links to the ads, and free quit help, visit www.cdc.gov/tips.

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