New CDC "Tips From Former Smokers" Anti-Smoking Ads Are So Terrifying, They Might Just Work

Nearly 42 million Americans — roughly 18 percent of adults — smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though the rate of cigarette smoking has steadily declined in recent years, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. That's why the CDC released new anti-smoking "Tips From Former Smokers" ads to deter smokers from continuing the nasty habit. The ads, which were released on Tuesday, are the third installment of the agency's "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign — and might just be the scariest anti-smoking ads yet.

The CDC first launched "Tips From Former Smokers" in 2012. As the name implies, the campaign uses real-life (re: not actors) former smokers, who talk about the dangers of the addiction through their own experiences. There are also stories from people who have been affected by second-hand cigarette smoke. Most of the people featured in the campaign have endured serious health complications, so, as you can imagine, their stories are pretty heart-breaking.

However, the newest installment of "Tips From Former Smokers" ads may be the most heart-wrenching ones of all. The photos and videos are incredibly graphic, showing bold portraits of people who nearly lost their lives from tobacco use. Some had strokes and heart attacks at a young age, while others are coping with long-lasting — and life-altering — effects.

According to the CDC, the ads are slated to run on TV and in movie theaters, as well as in print beginning July 7. The agency states that these graphic ads have been effective in compelling smokers to quit. In fact, a study of the 2012 "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign published in the medical journal The Lancet found that more than 1.6 million Americans attempted to quit smoking because of the ads. More than 100,000 former smokers are expected to stay quit for good.

Here are some of the newest video spots that were released Tuesday...

Amanda, a 30-year-old who smoked while pregnant

Shawn, a 50-year-old who breathes through a hole in his neck

Felicita, a 50-year-old who lost all her teeth due to gum disease

Terrie, who died in 2013 from cancer

Rose, a 59-year-old with lung cancer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also working on an anti-smoking social media campaign to reach a wider audience.

According to the CDC, the average weekly number of calls to the agency's quit-smoking hotline increased by 75 percent during the campaign's 2013 installment. Will these new ads deter more smokers from reaching from their pack of cigarettes? Given the recent evidence, they just might.

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention