Terrie, 52, is a cancer survivor and featured in several “Tips” ads.
“I’ve always said that if we can get one person to quit, we’ve done an achievement.” Photo by Natalie McGill/The Nation’s Health

More than 70 percent of current smokers see a doctor every year for a checkup, but too often a conversation about ways in which smokers can actually quit smoking is left out of the visit. To change this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out a new set of online and television ads to encourage smokers to get help from their doctors to quit. The ads are part of CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign made possible by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

“Doctors can help a lot,” said Tom Frieden, CDC director, speaking at a release event at the National Press Club on Wednesday. “Every doctor can help their patients quit and should do everything possible to help their patients quit.”

Frieden was joined by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and other campaign partners, including experts at the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Each ad features personal testimonials from real-life former smokers on the life-threatening consequences of smoking and ends with a call to action, “You can quit. Talk with your doctor for help.” The ads will run on national television outlets from May 27 through June 2.

“Ending the tobacco epidemic is just as critical today as it was 50 years ago,” said Benjamin.

The campaign creators are hoping the new ad push will encourage more smokers to seek help from their doctors and make the fight against the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. seem more achievable. The first set of “Tips” ads were launched in 2012, and since then, the campaign has been hugely successful. As of May 5 of this year, call volume to the national quitline, 1-800-QUIT NOW, increased by 200,000 calls thanks to the campaign.