The COPD Foundation (COPDF) announces today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will, for the first time, depict the impact of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in its national ad campaign, Tips From Former Smokers. The campaign highlights the overwhelming human and financial toll on the nation caused by smoking. Smoking is a major contributor to many chronic diseases that drive up the nation's healthcare costs.
“There is good evidence that supports the use 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.”
"The influence of the CDC ads, showing people living with the very real and painful consequences from smoking, will have a far-reaching impact and fuel our efforts to build public awareness, involve community leaders, and expand our out-reach to state officials and employers," says John W. Walsh, president and co-founder of the COPD Foundation. "There is good evidence that supports the use 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."
The ad depicts Michael, an Alaskan native who was diagnosed with COPD at age 44. A smoker since he was nine-years-old, Michael ignored the symptoms until age 52, when he awoke gasping for air. He quit smoking that day and has since had to have part of his lungs removed. COPD, an improbable chronic condition, means that Michael now needs a lung transplant. Michael offers this advice, "If your doctor gives you five years to live, spend it sharing your wisdom and love with your children and grandchildren so they have something to remember you by."
The campaign's key messages include:
For every person who dies from a smoking-related illness, 20 more Americans live with an illness caused by smoking.
30 percent of people have been diagnosed with COPD continue to smoke.
Individuals who need help quitting smoking can log on to www.cdc.gov/tips.
In 2012, the CDC revealed the world's largest telephone health survey, demonstrating the severe impact of COPD in its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Currently, an estimated 15 million U.S. residents are diagnosed with COPD. The data shows that 24.9 percent were never smokers, 38.2 percent were former smokers and 36.9 percent were current smokers.
Walsh adds, "The inclusion of COPD in this campaign will served as a catalyst for change by encouraging individuals to determine their risk by taking the COPD Risk Screener, and by generating more understanding about those living with the disease who need support programs, information hot lines, education and proper therapy to improve their quality of life."