CDC Targets Ecigs in New Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign
The Centers for Disease Control will launch a brand new anti-smoking campaign on March 30, but this time they are not just targeting tobacco users. The $68 million advertising plan will aim to convince people to stop using electronic cigarettes too. The new ads will continue the previous “Tips From Former Smokers” series, but this time it will also feature tips from people who previously used ecigs.
The American Lung Association is supporting the CDC’s move to target vaping. Assistant Vice President of Advocacy Erika Sward said, “This is really an industry, the larger tobacco industry with e-cigarettes, that threatens to get another generation addicted to nicotine.” Sward worries that with more teens using ecigs, public health officials need to act quickly to convince kids to avoid vaping.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said recent ecig ads have been luring in teens. He was especially bothered by a Blu cigs ad that showed the ecig logo on a model’s bikini bottom in “Sports Illustrated”. He said these ads are “introducing the glamor and sex appeal to adolescents today that have never been exposed to cigarette advertising on TV.”
Brian May, a spokesman for Philip Morris insists that the ecig lines are advertised with an adult audience in mind. “Philip Morris USA Works hard to market its products to adult smokers and limit the reach of its marketing materials to youth,” he said.
The CDC will run the new campaign for 20 weeks with ads appearing in print, on billboards, online, and on TV and radio. One of the ads will feature a 35-year-old woman “who tried using e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes but ended up using both products instead.” She goes on to tell how her lung collapsed and she developed lung disease.
The new campaign is definitely expensive, costing an estimated $68 million. In last year’s “Tips from Former Smokers Campaign”, the CDC said it helped 100,000 people quit smoking, meaning that the ads cost $480 per person who kicked the habit. CDC Director Tom Frieden called the ads a “best buy for public health” but others are not so sure. Since 2012, the CDC has spent around $230 million on anti-smoking propaganda. They justify the expense by pointing to Big Tobacco companies that are spending $23 million on cigarette marketing everyday.
Do you think the CDC is taking things too far with this new ad campaign? Should tax payers have to pay for anti-vaping propaganda?