Focus put on misleading “Tips From Smokers” campaign
In October 2017 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) submitted an information collection request titled “National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The OMB subsequently requested comment from the public to determine whether or not the collection and evaluation of information generated from the CDC’s National Tobacco Prevention and Control Public Education Campaign (“The Campaign”) should continue to receive funding.
CASAA took this opportunity to make a strong statement condemning the misleading “Tips From Smokers” campaign, which included ads such as the ad pictured at the right. That particular ad included an accompanying story that stated “Months after using e-cigarettes, she ended up in the hospital with a collapsed lung…. Such wording was clearly an attempt to link her medical condition to the use of vapor products, rather than the fact that she continued to smoke up until her hospitalization.
In our comment to OMB, CASAA noted:
- The Campaign features misleading and inaccurate claims.
- The Campaign is ineffective as designed and reported to date.
- The Campaign does not adequately address the public health needs in that it promotes abstinence only, ignoring the lower opportunity costs along a continuum of risk reduction.
CASAA recommended that The Campaign, “Tips from a Former Smoker,” be suspended and reworked to more adequately and truthfully educate the public. This will empower the smoking public to make a more informed choice about their tobacco use and health decisions.
CASAA strongly urged OMB to deny CDC’s request:
“It is time for the CDC to face the fact that The Campaign is inadequate to the task of promoting harm reduction in the smoking population. It is time that CDC change its focus from a nearly religious adherence to abstinence and align its mission with the core principle of public health – reduce the harm to the whole population, including smokers, through the promotion of harm reduction policies. It could do this best by recalling and retooling The Campaign towards promoting less harmful alternatives to combustible tobacco rather than presenting smokers with “Quit or Die” propaganda.”
The comment may be read here in its entirety here.