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Campaign Overview

The Burden of Tobacco Use

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems. For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness. The only proven strategy to protect yourself from harm is to never smoke, and if you do smoke or use tobacco products, to quit.

Real People, Real Stories

Example of a Tips ad featuring Shawn

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever paid national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) in March 2012. The Tips campaign, which profiles real people—not actors—who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, has continued through 2015.

Since its launch, the Tips campaign has featured compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities and the toll that smoking-related illnesses have taken on them. The campaign has also featured nonsmokers who have experienced life-threatening episodes as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tips ads focus on health issues caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, including:

  • Cancer (lung, throat, head and neck, colorectal)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Buerger’s disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Gum disease
  • Preterm birth
  • Smoking and HIV
  • Vision loss
  • Dual use (the current use of both cigarettes and at least one other type of tobacco product)

The Tips campaign engages doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and many other health care providers so they can encourage their smoking patients to quit for good.

Tips Campaign Goals

  • Build public awareness of the immediate health damage caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Encourage smokers to quit and make free help available.
  • Encourage smokers not to smoke around others and nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tips Campaign Primary Audience

  • The primary audience is smokers ages 18 through 54.
  • Secondary audiences include parents, family members, adolescents, health care providers, and faith communities.

Tips Campaign Key Messages

  • Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems.
  • For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness.
  • Now is the time to quit smoking, and if you want help, free assistance is available.

Tips Campaign Results to Date

In September 2013, The Lancet medical journal published an article about the effects of the 2012 Tips campaign, reporting that:

  • The Tips campaign motivated 1.6 million smokers to make a quit attempt.
  • At least 100,000 U.S. smokers will remain quit as a result of the 2012 campaign.
  • An estimated 6 million nonsmokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking, and an estimated 4.7 million additional nonsmokers recommended cessation services to their friends and family.

Call volume to the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline and visits to the Tips Web site increased dramatically during each campaign. In 2013, the average weekly number of calls increased by 75%, and the number of Web site visitors increased 38-fold.

Tips Campaign Resources

Free help is available for those who want to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or explore I'm Ready to Quit! Spanish speakers can call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA or explore ¡Estoy listo para dejar de fumar!

Learn more about the health damage smoking causes—and help spread the word with Tips materials in English or Spanish found at Campaign Resources and Recursos de la campaña.