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Tips Campaign Matte Article for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community

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

Smoking increases your risk for lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and other smoking-related diseases.1

Ellie always enjoyed working in restaurants and bars. She never smoked cigarettes but worked in a bar that allowed smoking. When she was in her mid-thirties, Ellie started having asthma attacks. At first she didn't know what was happening. "I had trouble breathing. I was wheezing. It was terrifying!" After several hospital visits and with the help of her doctor, Ellie realized her asthma attacks were triggered by people smoking where she worked. She was forced to choose between her health and staying at the job.

Ellie is a lesbian and a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. She tells her story as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers(Tips).Sharing personal experiences is a powerful way of communicating the risks of smoking and the harsh reality of the health problems that can occur from smoking.

This is especially true in the LGBT communities in the United States, where the rate of smoking is much higher than among the total population.2 In 2009–2010, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among LGBT individuals was 32.8%, compared with 19.5% among heterosexual individuals.3

This high rate is partly due to the stress related to prejudices and stigma that members of the LGBT communities can face on a daily basis. It may also be because tobacco companies aggressively market tobacco products to LGBT communities, spending millions to place tobacco ads in LGBT magazines, newspapers, and on Web sites of interest to this population.4

"The tobacco industry has established a presence in the LGBT communities that is dangerous and deadly. The higher smoking rates mean more members of these communities are experiencing more smoking-related diseases—claiming many more LGBT lives," said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "CDC is dedicated to reducing smoking rates in the LGBT communities."

That is one reason why, in 2012, CDC launched the Tips From Former Smokers campaign. The Tips campaign focuses on people with health problems caused by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. The effect of the 2012 campaign was immediate and intense. Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline (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 four times.*

As one of several participants in the 2013 Tips campaign, Ellie joins others who have shared their stories about living with serious long-term health effects resulting from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. As Dr. McAfee put it, "We wanted to address additional health conditions and population groups, including the LGBT communities, to expand the reach of 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 so they can lead healthier lives."

For Ellie, the choice became clear when she realized the damage to her health was caused by breathing secondhand smoke from people smoking around her. "I loved what I did. I loved the people where I worked. But every time someone asked, 'Can I have change for cigarettes?' I knew I was going to be breathing in more of that smoke. And when I went home each night, I was afraid that I was going to wake up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe." Today, Ellie lives with her partner and works in a smoke-free environment. She said it was sad she had to leave a job she loved. But Ellie is emphatic in saying, "Everyone deserves to work in a smoke-free workplace."

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

* 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.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: 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, 2010 [accessed 2013 Apr 22].
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health [accessed 2013 Apr 22].
  3. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guidelines. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2008 [accessed 2013 Apr 22].
  4. King BA, Dube SR, Tynan MA. Current Tobacco Use Among Adults in the United States: Findings from the National Adult Tobacco Survey. American Journal of Public Health 2012 Nov;102(11):e93–e100 [cited 2013 Apr 22].


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