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 join the hard-hitting ad campaign, Tips From Former Smokers, in 2014. Real people share very personal stories of illness in the Tips campaign, which was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage smokers to quit. The harms of smoking cigarettes come through loud and clear—in both English and Spanish—in the emotional stories of these two new participants, Felicita and Rose.
Smoking Destroys a Smile
Felicita's smoking story is a surprise to many people. Cigarettes have left 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, a New York City native, started smoking when she was just 12 years old. In her 30s and 40s, 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."
Texas Matriarch Shares the Fight of her Life
Rose comes 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 has had chemotherapy, radiation, and two surgeries.
Today, Rose spends her time with friends and family, especially her three grandchildren. "They mean the world to me," said Rose. The youngest grandbaby, named Tomorro Rose, was born around the time Rose started her fight against lung cancer.
"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.
Felicita and Rose join others of Hispanic or Latino heritage who have shared their personal struggles in earlier Tips campaigns, including:
Mariano, who started smoking when he was just 15. At age 47, he had open-heart surgery and barely escaped having a heart attack. He quit smoking and is grateful for a second chance at life.
Jessica, a Puerto-Rican American and the mother of a child with severe asthma. Her son, Aden, was diagnosed with asthma at age 3. Exposure to secondhand smoke has triggered his asthma attacks.
Beatrice, a New York resident and mother of two boys. She quit smoking because she wanted to be around for her family.
Smoking Reaches Deep Into Hispanic and Latino Communities
Smoking has dropped among Hispanic/Latino people in recent years—from 16.2% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2012, 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 heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death for Hispanic/Latinos in the United States.2
Smoking is particularly high in Hispanic/Latino men at 17.2%, which means about 1 in every 6 men smokes cigarettes. In women, 7.8% 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.3 They are also among the main causes of early disability.
- For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness.3 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.
Hard-Hitting Images and Emotional Videos
Rose and Felicita appear in ads on TV and radio, in print, on billboards, and across the Internet in both English and Spanish. They open up about their struggles and their families in personal video interviews found on YouTube and on the Tips From Former Smokers Web site, CDC.gov/tips.
Rose has been working to regain her strength after surgery to her brain so that she can babysit her grandchildren. Like everyone in the Tips campaign, she hopes that sharing her story will encourage other people to quit smoking before they get sick.
"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."
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2005–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014;63(02):29–34 [accessed 2014 May 26].
- National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States, 2012: With Special Feature on Emergency Care (Table 22) [PDF - 130KB] [accessed 2014 May 26].
- 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 2014 May 26].
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- CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717