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Tips™ Campaign Matte Article for Hispanics/Latinos

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

Emotional Ads Show Smoking's Toll in Hispanic and Latino Families

Two brave women with a proud Hispanic heritage are part of the hard-hitting Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) campaign, which was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage smokers to quit. The harms of smoking cigarettes comes through loud and clear—in both English and Spanish—in the emotional stories of these two participants, Felicita and Rose.

Smoking Destroys a Smile

Felicita's smoking story is a surprise to many people. Cigarette smoking resulted in permanent damage that this Florida mother faces with every bite she eats. She developed gum disease—a danger for all smokers—and lost all her teeth by age 50. In one surgery, 23 teeth were removed. Felicita doesn't like the way her dentures fit, so she uses only the top set, and her mouth gets sore easily. This means she only eats soft foods or puts her meals in a blender—even lettuce.

Felicita started smoking when she was just 12 years old. In her thirties and forties, Felicita already had bleeding gums and loose teeth, but she didn't realize that smoking could make the problems in her mouth much worse.

By the time Felicita quit smoking, it was too late to save her teeth. She's embarrassed to have dentures and doesn't smile much anymore.

"I feel like I destroyed my health and my appearance with cigarettes," she said.

Texas Matriarch Shares the Fight of her Life

Rose came from a small Texas town and large extended family. She started smoking early, at just 13 years of age, and continued for many years. The addiction nearly caused Rose to lose a foot because of clogged blood vessels—and then caused lung cancer, which later spread to her brain. Rose had chemotherapy, radiation, and two surgeries.

"I regret picking up smoking in the first place," said Rose. "It's just addictive." When her health was seriously threatened, Rose finally quit. It wasn't as hard as she expected, even after smoking for many years. "Once I had set my mind to it, I didn’t struggle," said Rose.

Smoking Rates Have Dropped Among Hispanic and Latino Communities

Smoking has dropped among Hispanic/Latino people in recent years—from more than 1 smoker in every 6 people (or 16.2%) in 2005 to less than 1 in 9 (or 11.2%) in 2014, but public health experts say it hasn’t gone down as far as it could or should.1 Cigarette smoking adds to a person's risk for cancer, heart disease, and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States.2

Among Hispanic/Latino men, 14.8% smoke cigarettes, or about 1 in every 7 men. Among Hispanic/Latina women, 7.6% smoke cigarettes, or about 1 in every 13 women.1

Statistics show that Americans pay a high price in illnesses and deaths due to tobacco use.

  • Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause more than 480,000 deaths a year in the United States. They are also among the main causes of early disability.3
  • For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness. These illnesses include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD makes it hard to breathe and can lead to an early death. Smoking can also make other health conditions—such as diabetes—much worse.3

“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.”

Hard-Hitting Images and Emotional Videos

Rose and Felicita have appeared in ads on TV and radio, in print, on billboards, and across the Internet in both English and Spanish. They opened up about their struggles and their families in personal video interviews found on YouTube and on the Tips Web site.

Rose wished that she had more days to spend with her friends and family—especially her three grandchildren, who meant the world to her. Like everyone in the Tips campaign, she hoped that sharing her story would encourage other people to quit smoking before they get sick. Sadly, she died in January 2015 at age 60 from cancer caused by smoking.

"Cigarettes harm. They kill," said Rose. "Try your best to quit. And if you don’t smoke, don’t pick it up. It’s not worth it."

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. Vital Signs: Leading Causes of Death, Prevalence of Diseases and Risk Factors, and Use of Health Services Among Hispanics in the United States—2009–2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;64(17):469–78 [accessed 2015 Dec 3].
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2015 Dec 3].