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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

Tiffany was 16 years old when her mother, a cigarette smoker, died from lung cancer. "Watching her suffer and cough was awful," Tiffany recalled. "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,'" said Tiffany.

Julia, a mother from Mississippi, was 49 when she nearly died from colon cancer. She developed cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Then one day, her pain and bloating got much, much worse, and she had a colon exam. "I will never forget that day. I was so sick. They found the tumor in my colon and rushed me to the hospital," said Julia. The tumor completely blocked her intestines, which can be life threatening. Julia had surgery right away, followed by months of chemotherapy to treat the cancer. She also needed an ostomy bag, which was taped to a hole in her abdomen to collect waste. Julia has since quit smoking and says her life is so much better without cigarettes.

Julia 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.

Nearly 1 in 6 (17.5%) non-Hispanic black adults in the United States smokes cigarettes.1  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 2005, there is still work to do.1  That's why in 2012, CDC launched the Tips campaign. The campaign focused on people with health problems caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smokers who want to quit have responded dramatically to the Tips campaigns. Results of a CDC study of the 2012 campaign published in the medical journal, The Lancet, reported that:3

  • 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.
  • More than 6 million nonsmokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking, and an estimated 4.7 million nonsmokers recommended cessation services to their friends and family.

CDC has expanded on the first Tips campaign by airing new ads each year since 2012, including ads with Tiffany and Julia. “The message of the Tips campaign is simple: Quit smoking now. Better yet—don’t start,” said Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, MPH, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Studies show that the sooner you quit, the better it will be for you and your family.”

“My colostomy was an important part of my healing process. It allowed me to heal and prevented me from getting an infection or worse,” said Julia. “I would do it again, because it saved my life.” Julia hopes that people who hear her story about smoking and colon cancer will quit as soon as possible.

Tiffany is enjoying a healthier lifestyle without cigarettes. After she quit smoking, she started exercising and going for walks. Jaelin remains her main inspiration for quitting. "I don't want to miss watching my daughter grow up," Tiffany said. Jaelin couldn't imagine life without her mom, either. She’s thanked her for quitting, saying, "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 For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2005-2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;64(44):1233–40 [accessed 2015 Dec 3].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths: Final Data for 2013,Table 13 [PDF–1.67MB]. National Vital Statistics Reports. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2013 [accessed 2015 Dec 3].
  3. McAfee T, Davis KC, Alexander RL, Pechacek TF, Bunnel R. Effect of the First Federally Funded US Antismoking National Media Campaign. The Lancet 2013;382(9909):2003–11 [accessed 2015 Dec 3].