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Harkin Applauds Groundbreaking Success of CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” Campaign

One of the Most Cost-Effective Public Health Campaigns, Major Victory for Harkin-Authored Prevention and Public Health Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded today’s release of a new study highlighting the outstanding return on investment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Tips From Former Smokers campaign. According to the study, for every $480 spent by the “Tips” campaign, one smoker has successfully quit and every $393 spent has helped a former smoker live one year longer. This is far less than the commonly accepted cost-effectiveness benchmark of $50,000 spent for every year of life saved, even after other costs associated with smoking cessation are factored in.

The “Tips” campaign, aimed at helping Americans quit smoking, is funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund.  Harkin authored the Fund as part of the Affordable Care Act. As Chairman of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee also announced $216 million in new funding in the FY 15 omnibus appropriations bill, an increase of $6 million, to the Office on Smoking and Health, which will allow expansion of the successful ‘‘Tips” campaign and State quit-lines.

“Today’s study is a powerful reminder that the ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ campaign is working and the Prevention and Public Health Fund is helping families stay healthy,” Harkin said. “In addition to the thousands of Americans the ‘Tips’ campaign has helped to quit smoking, we now know it is one of the most cost-effective public health campaigns with an unprecedented return on investment for taxpayers. Simply put, it saves lives and saves money.

“With tobacco still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, supporting critical programs like this one is more important than ever. Which is why I fought to secure $216 million to help the CDC continue this successful campaign to educate Americans about the harms of smoking and the resources available to them to help them quit,” Harkin added. “Helping to achieve public health successes like this is exactly what I envisioned when I created the Prevention and Public Health Fund and I urge my colleagues to continue to make strong investments in public health programs helping more Americans stay healthy and live longer.”

Tips From Former Smokers is the first federally funded national mass media anti-smoking campaign. It launched in 2012 with a campaign cost of roughly $48 million. The campaign was responsible for an estimated 100,000 smokers quitting permanently. The study also calculated the 2012 campaign will save about 179,000 healthy life-years at a cost of $268 per year of healthy life gained, and contributed to averting about 17,000 premature deaths at a cost of about $2,200 per premature death averted.

Harkin has championed preventive healthcare initiatives throughout his career. Since 2010, the Harkin-authored Prevention and Public Health Fund has supported more than $200 million in tobacco prevention and control work, including the “Tips” Campaign and expanding quit phone lines.