About the Campaign

The Burden of Cigarette Smoking

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

  • Cigarette smoking alone kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.1
  • 16 million Americans are living with at least one serious smoking-related disease.1
  • For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.1
  • Unfortunately, 34 million adults in the United States still smoke cigarettes.2
Real People, Real Stories

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever federally paid national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) – in March 2012. The Tips campaign profiles real people living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Tips also features compelling stories of the toll these smoking-related conditions have taken on family members.

Tips ads focus on many health issues caused by, associated with, or made worse by smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, including:

The Tips campaign engages doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and many other healthcare providers so they can encourage their smoking patients to quit for good.

Tips Campaign Research

Scientific studies have shown that hard-hitting media campaigns are effective in helping people quit smoking. Study results suggest that emotionally evocative tobacco education media campaigns featuring graphic images of the health effects of smoking can increase quitline calls and website visits, and that these campaigns’ effects decrease rapidly once they are discontinued.

The Tips campaign is based on an in-depth review of research conducted in multiple U.S. states and other countries, as well as extensive campaign development research and testing. Through audience testing, we learned:

  • People who smoke told us that they needed to see and hear what it would be like to live with the health consequences of smoking.
  • For decades, people who smoke had heard that smoking would ultimately kill them, but that wasn’t the motivation they needed. The nicotine in cigarettes is so addictive, they said, that even the fear of death wouldn’t motivate them to quit.
  • People who smoke said that seeing how smoking could affect their lives and impact their families was the true way they would be motivated to quit.
Tips Campaign Goals
  • Build public awareness of the immediate health damage caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Encourage smokers to quit, and make free help available.
  • Encourage smokers not to smoke around others, and encourage nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Tips Campaign Key Messages
  • Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems.
  • For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.
  • Now is the time to quit smoking. If you need help, free assistance is available by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Tips Campaign Audiences
  • Primary audiences include adult smokers ages 18 through 54.
  • Secondary audiences include family members, healthcare providers, and faith communities.
Tips Campaign Impact

From 2012–2018, CDC estimates that more than 16.4 million people who smoke have attempted to quit and approximately one million have successfully quit because of the Tips campaign.3

To read more about the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, please visit the Tips Impact and Results web page.

CDC's Tips From Former Smokers: increased calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, increased visits to CDC.gov/Tips, increased use of online quit smoking resources
What People Are Saying About Tips

“I am 2 months smoke free!! It’s really mind over matter but I believe the CDC commercials have much more of an impact when you’re ready to quit or deters people from ever starting!! Great job CDC!!”

­- Comment on Facebook @CDCTobaccoFree


“I quit because of these commercials. I feel better I hope they continue to show these commercials to save more lives.”

– Comment on Facebook @CDCTobaccoFree


“These campaigns actually pushed me over the edge to finally quit after several failed attempts. You are making a difference!”

– Comment on Facebook @CDCTobaccoFree

  1. 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 2020 August 19].
  2. Creamer MR, Wang TW, Babb S, et al. Tobacco Product Use and Cessation Indicators Among Adults – United States, 2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2019, 68(45);1013-1019 [accessed 2020 August 19].
  3. Murphy-Hoefer R, Davis KC, King BA, Beistle D, Rodes R, Graffunder C. Association between the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign and Smoking Cessation Among Adults, United States, 2012–2018. Preventing Chronic Disease 2020;17:200052.
Today I start my quit journey. Free resources provided by smokefree.gov