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New, harsh anti-smoking ads to be released

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DENVER -- You’re about to start seeing a new round of anti-smoking ads and these may be the most graphic yet. For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control has put out a new, multimillion dollar campaign aimed at getting people to quit.

“I’m Terrie and I used to be a smoker. I want to give you some tips about getting ready in the morning,” says a woman in one of the ads. “First your teeth, and then your wig.”

The images are some of the most shocking yet. The campaign is called “Tips from Former Smokers.”

“It began with my big toe, that was my first amputation I had,” says a woman in another ad.

The ads will begin appearing on TV, billboards, and print this Monday. Curt Huber is executive director of the American Lung Association in Colorado. He believes the campaign is a good idea.

“With tobacco companies spending about $1 million an hour on their messaging, we need to combat that on some level with messaging from our side,” Huber said.

Teens are the most vulnerable.

“The average age for starting smoking in Colorado is 12-and-a-half years old,” said Huber.

But he fears the graphic ads may not have any effect on young people.

“I think some young teenagers will look at these ads in which the people either look very old or very, very sick and they just won’t identify with those people,” said Huber.

Fox 31 showed the ads to some smokers in Denver to get their take.

“I definitely don’t want one of those, you know,” said Brian Frazier, talking about an ad showing a man with a stoma.

But most said no matter how graphic or real, the ads wouldn’t get them to quit smoking.

“I cough every single day and I can feel it in my lungs,” Frazier said. “It’s just, I would rather smoke cigarettes.”

“If people want to smoke bad enough they’ll still smoke regardless of how much tax they put on there or what kinds of ads people throw in their faces,” said Jaelyn Manzanares.

The CDC hopes the spots will persuade about 50,000 Americans to stop smoking. It may not do the trick for some smokers, but those we spoke with agree the key is keeping young people away from cigarettes.

“Tobacco companies, let’s face it, they’re losing their audience, they’re losing their customers to death,” Huber said.

The ads will air for at least 12 weeks.

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