The newest phase of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) graphic campaign to persuade America's 42 million smokers to quit—"Tips from Former Smokers"—launched this week, and it's heart wrenching.
Since 2012, the campaign has featured real former smokers dealing with serious health problems spawned by their addiction, and this round is bound to make smokers and non-smokers alike squirm. It's an especially graphic campaign from the CDC's tobacco office, which has not shied away from bold, conversation-starting efforts to curb smoking.
Previously released ads ran earlier this year in February, and a CDC spokesperson told TIME that the "effort had immediate and strong impact." During the last set of the ads' nine-week run, they generated over 100,000 additional calls to the CDC's quit line, 800-QUIT-NOW. On average, the CDC says weekly quit line calls were up 80 percent while the ads were on the air compared to the week before they began running. Preliminary estimates show there were nearly 650,000 unique visitors to the agency's website during those nine weeks.
The ads will be placed on cable TV, on radio, in print, on billboards, in movie theaters and online starting July 7. The CDC is also launching a social media campaign.
Of course, considering tobacco is a $100 billion market, and the industry continues to spend billions every year, the campaign is a drop in the pond. But it certainly stands out.