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Tips Campaign Matte Article for African Americans

This prewritten matte article about the Tips From Former Smokers campaign is ready for adaptation and use by journalists, bloggers, and other members of the media.

CDC Continues Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

Diseases from smoking kill more Americans each year than car crashes, AIDS, murders, and drug and alcohol abuse combined.1

Tiffany was 16 years old when her mother, a cigarette smoker, died from lung cancer. "Watching her suffer and cough was awful," Tiffany recalls. "I felt alone and scared, and I felt it could have been prevented." Despite that experience, Tiffany started smoking when she was 19. Through the years she tried to quit, but it wasn't until her own daughter, Jaelin, was 16 that she made the connection to her mother and made a serious attempt to quit. "I didn't want my daughter to think, 'Wow, my mother loves cigarette smoking more than she cares about me,'" says Tiffany.

Jamason never smoked a day in his life. He was just 16 years old when he landed in the hospital after having an asthma attack triggered by breathing other people's cigarette smoke. Jamason worries that in the future when someone smokes near him, it will happen again. "It's terrifying not being able to breathe," he says.

Jamason and Tiffany, who are African Americans, tell their stories as part of CDC's national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers (Tips). Sharing these personal experiences is a powerful way to communicate the risks of smoking and the harsh reality of the health problems that can occur.

About one in five black adults in the United States smokes cigarettes. Smoking puts people at risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death for blacks in the United States.2

Even though smoking rates among black Americans have declined since the first Surgeon General's report in 1964, the decline has leveled off in recent years.3 As Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "It has been challenging to make progress in getting people to quit smoking in the last several years." That's why in 2012, CDC launched the Tips From Former Smokers campaign.

Smokers who want to quit have responded dramatically to the Tips campaigns. A study of the 2012 campaign was published in the medical journal, The Lancet. It reported that:4

  • An estimated 1.64 million Americans tried to quit smoking because of the campaign.
  • At least 100,000 smokers are expected to stay quit for good.
  • 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

CDC expanded on the first Tips campaign by airing new ads in 2013 and 2014, including ads with Tiffany and Jamason. They join several other African American participants who first shared their stories in the 2012 Tips campaign. Dr. McAfee said, "We wanted to address additional health conditions and population groups that weren't represented in the first Tips campaign. We're confident that we can get more smokers to quit and more nonsmokers to encourage a loved one to quit for good."

Jamason will never forget the asthma attack he had after being exposed to secondhand smoke and the feeling of gasping to breathe.

Tiffany is enjoying a healthier lifestyle without cigarettes. After she quit smoking, she started exercising and going for walks. Her daughter, Jaelin, remains her main inspiration for quitting. "I don't want to miss watching my daughter grow up," she says. Jaelin couldn't imagine life without her mom, either. With tears in her eyes, Jaelin looked at her mother and thanked her for quitting: "To think about me not having a mom and having to take care of you, I just can't imagine how anybody can be strong enough to do that…and I'm very proud of you."

The Tips campaign includes TV, radio, print, public service announcement, billboard, and digital ads.

For more information about the Tips campaign and resources for quitting smoking, visit


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking [last updated 2014 Feb 6; accessed 2014 Jul 9].
  2. National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States, 2012: With Special Feature on Emergency Care (Table 22) [PDF - 130KB] [accessed 2014 Jul 9].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Smoking—United States, 1965–2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2011;60(01):109–13 [accessed 2014 Jul 9].
  4. McAfee T, Davis KC, Alexander RL, Pechacek TF, Bunnel R. Effect of the First Federally Funded US Antismoking National Media Campaign. The Lancet 2013 Sep 9. Epub ahead of print. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61686-4.