Fear Factor: Feds Launch New Anti-Smoking Campaign

Ads mimic blocked tobacco warning labels

Uncle Sam wants to scare you away from smoking.

Uncle Sam wants to scare you away from smoking. The Feds couldn't force tobacco companies to put gruesome images on cigarette packages, so now it's going on the offense, launching a new anti-smoking ad campaign showing smokers barely holding onto life and limb.

The "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign will run for 12 weeks on TV, radio, billboards, the Internet, cinema, magazines and newspapers.

Creative for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ads mimics the style and approach of the proposed warning labels with the intent to scare the pants off of anyone who is a smoker or even thinking about taking up the nasty habit. The series of seven ads show smokers with every horrific disease imaginable trying to survive without limbs or living with a stoma (a surgical opening in the neck). Only one of the ads provides an uplifting message that former smokers can work their way back to health through exercise.

"Although they may be tough to watch, the ads show real people living with real, painful consequences from smoking," said CDC director Thomas Frieden. "There is sound evidence that supports the use of these types of hard-hitting images and messages to encourage smokers to quit, to keep children from ever beginning to smoke, and to drastically reduce the harm caused by tobacco."

All the ads are tagged with 1-800-QUIT-NOW or a Web site, which provides free quitting information.