Smoking ads get gruesome

(NBC News) By now most people have seen or heard of the graphic anti-smoking ads from the Centers for Disease Control.

What many may not have heard is an explanation of the damaging effects of cigarette smoking put quite like this:

“Before they put that needle in your eyeball, look as far away as possible.”

That cringe-worthy tip is from Marlene, one of the long-time smokers featured in the CDC’s new “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign.

She’s describing her treatment for macular degeneration.

Smoking doubles the risk for the condition, a fact Marlene wishes she would have known when she picked up her first cigarette at age 15.

“It was devastating to me when I found out that I could lose my central vision. Whoever thought that smoking could do something like this?” she says.

Other ads show men and women with colorectal cancer who must use ostomy bags to collect their waste.

Smoking cessation experts say the testimonials are gruesome and honest because that’s the way to reach smokers.

“We can’t be too cautious because the smokers absolutely said, we want to know what it will be like if we get this, because that will help motivate us to quit,” explains the CDC’s Dr. Tim McAfee.

According to the CDC, it’s working. Other “Tips” campaigns have prompted more than 100,000 smokers to quit for good.

The new CDC ads will begin airing nationwide next week.

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