With TV ads, Philly steps up anti-smoking campaign

Smoker-tips-Shawn
Shawn, 51, of Washington State, was diagnosed with throat cancer at age 46. His story was part of the federal government’s Tips From Former Smokers Campaign. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is funding an anti-smoking ad campaign with some of these stories.

In an expansion of its efforts to reduce smoking, Philadelphia health officials said Tuesday that they were launching an advertising campaign that graphically depicts the dangers of tobacco on broadcast and cable television and on social media.

"Ask yourself what you'll miss more," a former smoker identified only as Tiffany asks in one ad. "Your children or cigarettes."

In another, a man named Roosevelt pulls up his shirt to reveal the scar left by  bypass surgery after smoking damaged his heart and triggered a heart attack.

Both ads are part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's emotional Tips From Former Smokers Campaign.

"We know that this campaign works. It has been thoroughly  evaluated," Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city's Department of Public Health, said in a statement. 

Philadelphia has among the highest adult smoking rates in the country. 

The ads are scheduled to run through June 30, paid for with $115,000 from the city's share of the Master Tobacco Settlement.

"The tobacco industry spends up to $55 million a year — $35 for every Philadelphia resident — to keep smokers addicted to tobacco and to recruit young smokers to replace those who die," said Farley, who last summer launched an aggressive campaign targeting the industry's marketing practices.

It created the website www.smokefreephilly.org to publicize its efforts and offer resources to help people quit.

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