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CDC Campaign Encourages Smokers to “Talk With Your Doctor” for Help Quitting

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Because a doctor’s advice  and assistance more than doubles the odds that a smoker will quit successfully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partnering with five national physician groups on the new “Talk With Your Doctor” campaign to encourage smokers to ask a doctor for help. The campaign also encourages clinicians to ask patients if they smoke and offer assistance in helping them to quit. Almost 70 percent of all smokers say they want to quit, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

The drive will be part of the “Tips From Former Smokers’’ national television and online ad campaign from May 27 through June 2. Tips From Former Smokers national television and online ads will feature a new call to action for smokers to “talk with your doctor” for help quitting.   Each ad ends with the voice-over narration, “You can quit.  Talk with your doctor for help.”

"These stories motivate smokers to try to quit, and the ‘Talk With Your Doctor’ campaign encourages smokers to get help from their doctor to quit,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Smokers have told us that hard-hitting, emotionally powerful ads like these provide the motivation they need, and the response to the ads supports that. We believe ‘Talk With Your Doctor’ will amplify and expand the great success of Tips and offer more encouragement for smokers to quit for good.  We hope doctors will offer evidence based counseling and medications to all patients who can benefit from them."

Through partnerships, doctors will be offered training on tobacco interventions, and will receive information about the campaign through academic journals, newsletters, and digital communications. These partners include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“Taking just a few minutes to talk to your patients about smoking can double the odds of them successfully quitting,” said Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D.  “As a physician, I know that clinicians and their staff can play an incredibly important role in helping smokers move from thinking about quitting to taking real steps toward successful quitting.” 

January 2014 will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report to conclude that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer.  Five decades later, 43 million American adults continue to smoke, and cigarette smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year. 

As of May 5, the Tips campaign has resulted in 200,000 additional calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW beyond what would have been expected had call volume continued at its level the week before the campaign began.

“I’ve been a practicing physician who’s helped patients quit, and treated some of the terrible diseases in those who didn’t quit in time,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.  “The message of the Tipscampaign and our new “Talk With Your Doctor” campaign is simple:  Quit smoking now. Or better yet — don’t start. Studies show that the sooner you quit the better.  And there is nothing you can do to add more years to your life than to quit smoking.”

Quitting smoking may be the single most effective thing you can do to improve your life expectancy, and now the Affordable Care Act gives Americans greater access to resources to help them quit. In addition to talking with a doctor, smokers who want help quitting smoking can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).  For more information on the Tips campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, links to the ads, and free quit help, visit

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