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E-Cigarettes Targeted in New CDC Campaign

PHOTO: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kicked off its new Tips from Former Smokers campaign, intended to discourage the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. Photo by Jonny Williams/Flickr.
PHOTO: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kicked off its new Tips from Former Smokers campaign, intended to discourage the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. Photo by Jonny Williams/Flickr.
April 6, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS - Colon cancer, vision problems and myths about "vaping" - a slang term for using e-cigarettes - are featured in a new CDC public health campaign called Tips from Former Smokers.

According to CDC senior medical officer Dr. Tim McAfee, the public awareness of smoking-related health damages beyond the heart and lungs is limited, but the risks have been proven scientifically. He says vaping is being aggressively marketed as a way to help smokers quit. So far research shows it doesn't help.

McAfee also cites research showing that reducing the amount of traditional smoking by using e-cigarettes doesn't help, either.

"The 2010 Surgeon General's Report found that fewer cigarettes per day does not reduce cardiovascular disease," he says. "The only way to stop the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is to quit smoking completely."

The anti-smoking campaign features television and radio spots, online images, video and print components, all bearing testimonials from former smokers now dealing with major health problems - and directing smokers to call the Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

"Julia" is one of the former smokers in the CDC campaign. She details her life after colon cancer, which she says is the result of more than 30 years of smoking, starting as a teenager.

"It wasn't just about the physical pain and suffering I endured, it was also the fear and sadness I saw in my family," she says. "That hurt almost more than the cancer itself."

Other former smokers share their stories about rectal cancer, lung cancer and age-related macular degeneration.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN