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Campaign Overview

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 encourages people to quit smoking by showing the toll that smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones. The hard-hitting ads show people living with the real and painful consequences of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Subsequent phases of the Tips campaign in 2013 and 2014 have expanded on the success of the first Tips campaign—and offer a closer look at additional, devastating illnesses caused by smoking.

Real People, Not Actors

Many of the people seen in Tips ads started smoking in their early teens, and some were diagnosed with life-changing diseases before they were age 40. Some are nonsmokers who developed serious illnesses from exposure to secondhand smoke.

The ads feature 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 campaigns serve as an important counter to the more than $900,000 that the tobacco industry spends each hour—more than $22 million a day—on cigarette advertising and promotion.

What Are the Campaign's 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 (
  • 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 want help, free assistance is available.

What Resources Are Included on the Ads?

Tips ads are tagged with the quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and/or Spanish-language ads are tagged with the Spanish-language quitline number (1-855-DÉJELO YA) or

The Impact of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

The first Tips campaign in 2012 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, display, search, and mobile channels. The campaign included paid ads and public service announcements in English and Spanish.

Additional resources were and continue to be made available to the public through the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Many smokers and their loved ones responded to the 2012 campaign.

  • An estimated 1.6 million people made a quit attempt.
  • More than 100,000 smokers will remain quit.
  • An estimated 6 million nonsmokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking.

CDC launched the next round of advertisements in April 2013. The 2013 Tips campaign featured additional health conditions (COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], asthma in adults, smoking-related complications in a person with diabetes) and population groups (American Indian/Alaska Natives; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender). The campaign also included ads about the effects of secondhand smoke exposure as well as an emotional ad on how important it is to quit for loved ones.

As a result of the first two campaigns, call volume to the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline increased significantly, and visits to this Web site increased dramatically. In 2013, the average weekly number of calls increased by 75%, and the number of Web site visitors increased 38-fold.

Tips in 2014

CDC is capitalizing on the success of the first two Tips From Former Smokers campaigns by launching a third round of ads in 2014. This campaign will spotlight health conditions that were not seen fully in previous years, including severe gum disease, serious problems caused by smoking during pregnancy, lung cancer, and health problems that can develop in HIV positive people who continue to smoke.

The 2014 plan will also focus on reaching low socioeconomic groups, which have high smoking rates.


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