The Centers for Disease Control has released a new series of “Tips from Former Smokers” ads designed to seriously turn people off of smoking — we’re talking missing teeth, operation scars and ….needles in the eyes (and yes, I watched with my hand in front of my face.).
The needles in the eye involve a testimonial from a woman suffering from macular degeneration in her eyes caused by smoking. From a story done by NBC last week on this campaign:
This year, Marlene, who isn’t fully identified, tells about having to endure regular treatments for macular degeneration. “Please don’t end up like me. Don’t sit in a doctor’s chair, have a clamp put on your eye, and have needles stuck in your eyeballs. It’s horrible,” Marlene, who is 68, told NBC News.
I get these ads on my Facebook feeds from time to time and I’ve watched a few of them. Great for NBC News to do a feature on the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, focusing on the cringe-worthiness of the ads.
Part of the emphasis of the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign is sending the message that smoking doesn’t just cause lung cancer. Research has shown that smoking either causes or is a huge risk factor for a wide variety of diseases, including COPD, diabetes, sight loss and arthritis. I’ve personally seen how smoking probably made my mom’s arthritis much worse, if it didn’t downright cause it to begin with.
Dr. Tim McAfee, head of the CDC Smoking and Health Office, claims that the campaign has prompted 100,000 smokers to quit.
Some of the stories from former smokers quoted in the CDC campaign and NBC story:
Julia, a 58-year-old Mississippi native, advises on how to use a colostomy bag in one video. “I smoked and I got colon cancer,” she says. “What I hated the most was the colostomy bag. That’s where they re-route your intestines, so you have bowel movements that go into a bag.”
One tip: Get a sense of humor. “You’ll need it,” she says.
“When you have a hole in your neck…be very careful shaving,” advises Shawn, 50, of Washington state, a smoker who got throat cancer.