(STLTODAY) — In a graphic new ad campaign announced Thursday, the government is trying to shock smokers into quitting with the sometimes-gruesome stories of people damaged by tobacco products.

The new effort confronts a hard truth: Despite increased tobacco taxes and bans in many public places, the adult smoking rate hasn’t really budged since 2003.

“When we look back on just a few decades to the days of smoking on airplanes and elevators, it can be easy to focus on how far we’ve come,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius, at a news conference.

But smoking continues to take a devastating toll on the American public, and the new ads are meant to be “a wake-up call” to smokers who may not truly grasp the dangers that still exist, she added.

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