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Tips Campaign Matte Article for Hispanics / Latinos

This pre-written matte article about the Tips from Former Smokers campaign is ready for adaptation and use by journalists, bloggers, or other members of the media.

CDC Continues Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

“I was given a second chance to live.”

Mariano is Hispanic and lives in Illinois. He started smoking at 15. One day at the age of 47, Mariano woke up feeling dizzy and sick. He also started sweating a lot. Mariano went to his doctor, who told him that he was on the verge of having a heart attack. “He told me, ‘You have a very big problem with your arteries. Your blood pressure is very high.’”  Mariano was hospitalized that day. Three days later, he had open heart surgery to replace blocked blood vessels in his heart.

“I got lucky,” Mariano says. “I smoked my last cigarette when I got the notice about the surgery. I should have quit smoking years ago and probably could have avoided all these problems.” He hasn’t smoked since.

Jessica, a Puerto-Rican American, is the mother of Aden—a child with severe asthma. Aden was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with asthma. Unfortunately, Jessica wasn't aware of the connection between secondhand smoke exposure and asthma. It took visiting an emergency room for her to make that connection. “They kept asking me if I smoked, and I kept saying no. Then it dawned on me that he was around cigarette smoking while at my mom's house.” It turned out that Jessica's mother, who watched Aden during the day while Jessica was at work, was a smoker.

Mariano and Jessica’s stories help highlight the health problems caused by smoking among Hispanic/Latino people. We know that heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States 1. Cigarette smoking increases the risk for both these conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, 12.9% of Hispanic adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with 19.0% among U.S. adults overall. Smoking prevalence was particularly high among Hispanic men, 17.0%. (Among women, the prevalence was 8.6%.)2 According to published surveys, smoking is more common among Puerto Ricans than among other Hispanic/Latino populations in the United States.

Since the publication of the first Surgeon General’s report nearly 50 years ago, we know that smoking causes a wide variety of severe health problems. Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke result in more than 443,000 deaths a year in this country and are also among the main causes of early disability. For every person who dies from smoking, another 20 suffer from illnesses related to smoking3, such as COPD and asthma. Smoking can also make other health condition—such as diabetes—much worse.

Even though smoking prevalence has declined in Hispanic populations since 2005 (from 16.2% in 2005 to 12.9% in 2011), it hasn’t gone down as far as it could or should. That’s one of the reasons why in 2012, CDC launched the Tips From Former Smokers campaign. The Tips campaign focused on people with health problems caused by smoking or from exposure to secondhand smoke. 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 (which provides free counseling to help smokers quit) more than doubled during the Tips campaign, and visits to the Web site ( increased by more than five times.4

Now CDC is expanding on the first Tips campaign by airing new ads in 2013. The campaign will run through the early summer and includes TV, radio, print, PSA, billboard, and digital ads. Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Office of Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “We’re confident that we can get more smokers to quit and more nonsmokers to encourage a loved one to quit for good.” 

Included in this outreach are ads specifically directed to Hispanic/Latino populations that feature Jessica and Mariano. Both of their ads focus on their desire to lead a full life and be with family and friends despite health problems caused by smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Jessica got involved with the Tips campaign because she wants people, especially first-time moms, to be more aware of their surroundings and not be shy about telling people not to smoke around their children.

Mariano wants people to know how lucky he feels. As he says in his radio ad, “When you get a second chance, everything looks better, tastes better, smells better, and feels better. A second chance means more time for my family, for travel, for trying new things, or really appreciating the old things you love. A second chance is an amazing gift—if you get one.”

For more information about the Tips campaign and resources for quitting smoking, visit For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


  1. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health (Table 26). Hyattsville, MD. 2012 [accessed 2013 Feb 28] - [PDF - 9.79MB].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012;61(44):889–94 [accessed 2013 Feb 28].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 [accessed 2013 Feb 28].
  4. The 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline received 365,194 calls during the Tips campaign, up 132% from the 157,675 calls it received during the same 12-week period in 2011. The Web site received 629,898 unique visitors during the campaign, up 428% from the 119,327 unique visitors it received during the same period in 2011.

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