The federal government unveiled its shocking new anti-smoking campaign on Monday, containing gruesome images that health experts claim are the direct result of smoking.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's new anti-smoking commercials are sure to get people talking about them. But several questions remain.
Will these commercials scare smokers enough to cause them to quit? Will they scare children enough to prevent them from picking up the habit in the first place?
The advertising campaign features testimonials from real Americans telling horrific first-hand accounts of how they've suffered because smoking resulted in their limbs being amputated, paralysis, lung removal, and more.
The CDC is spending $54 million for the ad campaign, placing ads in print, radio, television, billboards, and on the Internet for three months.
"We hope these ads will be a wake up call for smokers and potential smokers who are not yet aware of the enormous damage they maybe doing to their health," said Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary.
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in America. It is estimated that 48 million Americans smoke, including three million high schoolers and 600,000 middle schoolers.
"Reviews in the scientific literature are unanimous. Hard-hitting ads convince smokers to quit and reduce the likelihood that kids will start smoking," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said.
Critics question whether the government should be waging an anti-smoking campaign and dispute its effectiveness because tobacco taxes and smoking bans have had little impact on the smoking rate.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration predicts this new shock therapy will persuade 50,000 people to quit.
The administration did suffer a set-back last month when a federal judge struck down their plan to force tobacco manufacturers to put graphic images on cigarette packages.
The White House is appealing that decision.