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, an estimated 30.8 million adults in the United States still smoke cigarettes.2
  • The U.S. spends more than $300 billion each year on smoking-related disease costs — more than $225 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.3

Learn more about how smoking and secondhand smoke affect specific groups.

Real People, Real Stories

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever federally funded national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) – in March 2012.

The Tips campaign profiles real people from many different backgrounds 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:

Tips Is For Everyone

The Tips campaign uses approaches to address health disparities in pursuit of health equity by increasing the reach, representation, receptivity, and accessibility of smoking cessation messages. Tips also increases awareness of free quit-smoking resources among adults—no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they make.

Specifically, the Tips campaign:

  • Develops evidence-based smoking cessation messages and includes people in the campaign that reflect the diversity of those suffering from smoking-related health conditions and experiences.
  • Places Tips ads on a variety of media channels to reach communities and groups with high levels of smoking and smoking-related diseases, including those populations who are disproportionally affected by tobacco use.
  • Partners with healthcare professionals so they can encourage their smoking patients to quit for good.
  • Makes Tips materials available for free or reduced cost to state and local health programs and community-based organizations.
  • Translates Tips information and resources into additional languages, uses culturally appropriate language, and creates materials that are accessible for people with disabilities.
Tips Campaign Impact

From 2012–2018, CDC estimates that more than 16.4 million people who smoke attempted to quit and approximately 1 million successfully quit because of the Tips campaign.4

To read published articles about the impact of the Tips campaign, please visit the Tips Impact and Results web page.

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 that most people who smoke already knew that cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke can cause death. But the fear of dying from smoking-related causes did not motivate people to take action to quit. What did motivate people to quit smoking was witnessing the difficulty of living with a chronic, long-term, and debilitating smoking-related disease and imagining how that could affect their families.

Tips Campaign Goals
  • Build public awareness of the immediate health damage caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Encourage adults who smoke to quit and make free help available.
  • Encourage adults who smoke not to smoke around others and encourage those who don’t smoke to protect themselves and their families from secondhand smoke exposure.
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
  • The primary audience for the campaign is adults ages 18 through 54 who smoke and who are of low socioeconomic status.
  • Secondary audiences include family members, healthcare professionals, and faith communities.
What People Are Saying About Tips
Woman

“I want to thank these wonderful and courageous and compassionate health heroes who have told us their true stories. Prayers for them. Love their message. Hope friends watching and who need help can learn from them. There is help out there and anyone can do it.”

­- Comment on Facebook @CDCTobaccoFree

Woman

“Yes! Good campaign, powerful messages for those that need to hear them! 👍🏼👍🏼 These commercials are what I was telling you about- I wish Mom could have seen these many YEARS ago, maybe they would have made a difference and encouraged her to quit smoking then!?”

– Comment on Facebook @CDCTobaccoFree

Man

“I want to tell you how effective the smoking commercials are. They have helped me stop smoking. Thank you very much.”

– Comment received through the Tips campaign email box

  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 2022 Jan 12].
  2. Cornelius ME, Loretan CG, Wang TW, Jamal A, Homa DM. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022; 71:397–405.
  3. Xu X, Shrestha SS, Trivers KF, Neff L, Armour BS, King BA. U.S. Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in 2014external icon. Preventive Medicine, 2021. Volume 150, 106529,ISSN 0091-7435 [accessed Feb 1 2022].
  4. 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. [accessed 2022 Jan 12].
Today I start my quit journey. Free resources provided by smokefree.gov