Starting Monday, expect to be bombarded with disturbing images showing you, quite graphically, what can happen to you if you smoke. The US government is starting its first paid anti-smoking campaign, running ads for 12 weeks in newspapers, billboards, TV and radio, and social networking sites as well as public service announcements that will go on even longer. The $54 million campaign features real-life examples of the consequences of smoking, such as paralysis, amputated limbs, and lung removal, USA Today reports.
The ads are meant to stop kids from starting to smoke—just one week ago, the surgeon general called teen smoking a "pediatric epidemic"—as well as to urge current smokers to quit. To that end, the ads will offer smoking cessation tips and resources including a toll-free hotline and a website. "These are real Americans telling real stories," says the director of the CDC, which is leading the campaign. "Ads like this save lives. They pull back the curtain and show people what I and other doctors see, which is the suffering, disability, disfigurement, and death."