In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever paid national tobacco education campaign — Tips From Former Smokers (Tips). Tips encouraged people to quit smoking by highlighting the toll that smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones. The hard-hitting ads showed people living with the real and painful consequences of smoking. Many of the people featured in the ads started smoking in their early teens, and some were diagnosed with life-changing diseases before they were age 40. The ads featured suggestions or “tips” from former smokers on how to get dressed when you have a stoma or artificial limbs, what scars from heart surgery look like, and reasons why people have quit smoking.
The Tips campaign lasted 12 weeks, and the ads were placed in/on television, radio, print (magazines), out-of-home (billboards, bus shelters), in-theater, and online through digital video, search, and mobile channels. Additional information and resources were and continue to be made available to the public through the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The effect of the campaign was immediate and intense.
Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT-NOW more than doubled during the Tips campaign, and visits to the Smokefree.gov Web site increased by more than five times.
CDC is building on the success of the Tips campaign by launching a new round of advertisements in April 2013 to continue to raise awareness of the negative health effects caused by smoking, encourage smokers to quit, and encourage nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke. This campaign will expand upon the first campaign and feature additional health conditions (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], asthma in adults, smoking-related complications in a person with diabetes) and population groups (American Indian/Alaska Native; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) that were not included in the first Tips campaign. The campaign also includes an ad focused on the effects of secondhand smoke exposure, as well as an emotionally impactful cessation ad.
The campaign serves as an important counter to expenditures for marketing and promotion of cigarettes that exceeded $900,000 an hour — more than $22 million a day — in the United States during 2010.
What are the 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 for those who want it, including calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting this Web site (www.cdc.gov/tips).
- Encourage smokers not to smoke around others and nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Who is the primary audience for the campaign?
- The primary audience is smokers ages 18 through 54.
- Secondary audiences include parents, family members, and adolescents.
What are the key messages of the campaign?
- Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems.
- For every person who dies from a smoking-related illness, 20 more Americans live with an illness caused by smoking.
- Now is the time to quit smoking, and if you need help, free assistance is available.
What media channels will be used?
Paid advertising and public service announcements (PSAs) will be placed on English- and Spanish-language television; radio; print; out-of-home (e.g., billboards); and digital outlets. Additional information and resources will be made available to the public through social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. For information on how to access these social media platforms, visit the Tips Stay Connected page.
How long will the campaign run?
The paid portion of the campaign will begin on March 4 and will run for 16 weeks. The PSAs, including an advertisement that specifically promotes quitting, will run throughout the year.
What resources will be included on the ads?
The ads will be tagged with the quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and/or www.cdc.gov/tips. Spanish-language ads will be tagged with the Spanish-language quitline number (1-855-DEJELO YA) or www.cdc.gov/consejos.
Get email updates
To receive email updates about the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, enter your email address:
- CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717