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Harkin Statement on the Success of CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” Campaign; Launch of Campaign’s Fourth Phase

‘This is exactly the kind of public health success I envisioned with the Prevention Fund.’

WASHINGTON D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today released the following statement as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the fourth phase of the successful “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign.  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 and allocated $105 million of the Fund to smoking cessation programs in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus funding measure.  This allocation provides funding to the “Tips” campaign. 

According to a study published in The Lancet, the first round of the campaign led an estimated 1.6 million smokers to try to quit smoking and helped more than 100,000 Americans quit smoking for good – far exceeding the campaign’s original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits.  Since then, two additional “Tips” campaign have helped Americans quit smoking. The CDC’s newest phase of the “Tips” campaign can be viewed here.

Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (the LHHS subcommittee).  

“Thanks to the success of efforts like the ‘Tips From Former Smokers’ campaign, Americans around the country have taken the first steps to quit smoking and lead healthier lives.  These ads are hard-hitting, they are memorable, and they work because they show Americans in real terms the impact that long-term smoking can have on their health.  This is exactly the kind of public health success I envisioned when I created the Prevention and Public Health Fund,” said Harkin.  “That tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States means that this critical work must continue.  In that regard, I welcome the fourth phase of CDC’s ‘Tips’ campaign, which will continue to educate Americans about the harms of smoking and the resources available to them to help them quit.  By building on the progress of this successful campaign, we will be able to save more lives and continue to improve the health and quality of life of all Americans.

“It is also significant that this launch comes as we recognize the fifth anniversary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which, for the first time, gave the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco.  Though the smoking rate in America continues to decline, the prevalence of emerging products like e-cigarettes has rapidly increased.  We must remain vigilant in this fight.”

Last month, Harkin convened a hearing of the HELP Committee to examine the state of tobacco use and regulation in the United States since the passage of the Tobacco Control Act.