CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® Campaign Returns With New Ads

Nation’s first federal tobacco education campaign celebrates 10th year

Press Release

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 1, 2021
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) campaign enters its 10th year today with new ads that encourage people who smoke to quit. The Tips campaign is the nation’s first federally funded tobacco education campaign and has helped more than 1 million U.S. adults to quit smoking and inspired millions more to try to quit. This year’s Tips campaign features ads that will air on national and cable television, online, and streaming radio.

To coincide with the launch of this year’s Tips® campaign CDC is also releasing a special supplementexternal icon, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine focusing on the role of tobacco quitlines. The studies and articles in the supplement address how quitlines have been able to reach, adapt, tailor, and innovate to serve more than 10 million Americans since 2004.

Researchpdf iconexternal icon shows that emotionally evocative, evidence-based campaigns, like Tips®, are effective in raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and helping people who smoke to quit. These campaigns are even more effective when coupled with quitlines, which provide free, confidential support services to help people quit smoking. Each year when the Tips campaign is aired, there is an immediate and marked spike in calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and in visits to the campaign website.

“For nearly a decade the Tips campaign has shown us the impact of living with real-life consequences from smoking,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “CDC’s longstanding effort to end tobacco use continues to be a public health priority and we remain determined to reduce the number of deaths and prevent chronic diseases that result from tobacco use.”

Emotionally evocative, evidence-based campaign

Through the campaign, people share compelling stories about their smoking-related diseases and disabilities and the toll these conditions have taken on them and their loved ones. The new 2021 Tips ads include:

  • Tonya M., 49, who suffered from heart failure at age 38. Tonya had open-heart surgery and had a battery-operated heart pump installed.
  • Denise H., 66, who cares for her husband, Brian H., 65, who suffers from heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer—all caused by smoking.
  • Asaad M., 25, who cares for his mother, Leah M., 52, who suffers from colorectal cancer due to smoking.

In addition to the new ads, we will continue to run existing ads that highlight a variety of health conditions. This includes ads that feature participants who smoked and have COPD, emphasizing the fact that smoking can cause lung illnesses and make them worse.

“We are so thankful to all the brave Tips campaign participants who, through the years, have shared their powerful stories about the toll cigarette smoking has taken on them and their loved ones,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Their stories continue to save lives by inspiring people to quit smoking.”

Cost-effective Tips campaign saves lives and dollars

In addition to the harm it causes to peoples’ lives, cigarette smoking also has a significant impact on the U.S. economy. Smoking costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.

Mass-reach health education campaigns, like Tips, help people quit smoking, improve their health, and reduce healthcare spending. A recently published studyexternal icon showed that during 2012–2018, the Tips campaign helped prevent an estimated 129,000 early deaths and helped save an estimated $7.3 billion in smoking-related healthcare costs. Every $3,800 spent on the Tips campaign between 2012–2018 prevented an early death.

Cigarette smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. For every American who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more suffer at least one serious illness from smoking.

The adverse effects of smoking are clear and well-documented. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the human body and increases the risk of more severe illness from COVID-19. Quitting smoking is beneficial at any age. For more information on the Tips campaign, including profiles of former smokers, other campaign resources and links to the ads, visit


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

Page last reviewed: February 26, 2021