About the Campaign

The Burden of Cigarette Smoking

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking alone killing more than 480,000 Americans each year, and unfortunately, 34 million Americans still smoke. It 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.1 The best strategy to protect yourself from the harmful effects of smoking is to never smoke, and if you do smoke tobacco products, to quit.

Real People, Real Stories

Example of a Tips ad featuring Shawn

In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever paid national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®). The Tips campaign profiles real people who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.

Tips features compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities and the toll these conditions have taken on them. The campaign also features nonsmokers who experienced life-threatening episodes as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke, and family members impacted by their loved one’s smoking-related illness.

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

  • Cancer (lung, throat, head and neck, colorectal)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Buerger’s disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Gum disease
  • Preterm birth
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Vision loss and blindness
  • Dual use (the current use of both cigarettes and electronic cigarettes)
  • Mental health conditions (depression and anxiety)

The Tips campaign engages doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and many other healthcare providers so they can encourage their smoking patients to quit for good. Resources for healthcare providers, public health professionals, and mental health providers can be found on our Partners page.

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 Audiences

  • Primary audiences include adult smokers ages 18 through 54.
  • Secondary audiences include family members, healthcare providers, and faith communities.

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 Results to Date

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.2

  • During the 2018 campaign, a total of 206,253 calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW were attributable to the Tips campaign.
  • As a result of the Tips 2012 campaign, non-smokers reported increased conversations with family or friends about the dangers of smoking and had greater knowledge of smoking-related diseases.
  • As a result of the Tips 2012 campaign, approximately 17,000 premature deaths from smoking were estimated to be averted, and 179,000 years of healthy life gained. With total campaign costs of about $48 million, Tips spent approximately:3
    • $480 per smoker who quit
    • $2,819 per premature death prevented
    • $393 per year of life saved
  • Smokers who have seen Tips ads report greater intentions to quit within the next 30 days, and smokers who have seen the ads multiple times have even greater intentions to quit.4

Tips Campaign Resources

Free help is available for those who want to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or explore How to Quit Smoking.

Learn more about the health consequences caused by smoking and help spread the word with Tips materials, available in English or Spanish. Our Campaign Resources page is also available in Spanish: Recursos de la campaña.


  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.
  2. Over Half a Million Quits & Going Strong: How the Tips® Campaign Continues to Help Smokers Quit Smoking for Good, Murphy-Hoefer R, Davis K, King B, Rodes R, Beistle D. 2019 National Conference on Tobacco or Health, Minneapolis, MN, August 27-29, 2019 (poster session).
  3. Xin Xu, PhD; Robert L. Alexander Jr, PhD; Sean A. Simpson, MA; Scott Goates, PhD; James M. Nonnemaker, PhD; Kevin C. Davis, MA; Tim McAfee, MD. A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the First Federally Funded Antismoking Campaignexternal icon. American Journal of Preventative Medicine: December 09, 2014.
  4. Kevin Davis, MA; Deesha Patel, MPH; Paul Shafer, MA; Jennifer Duke, PhD; Rebecca Glover-Kudon, PhD; William Ridgeway, MA; Shanna Cox, MSPH. Association Between Media Doses of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign and Cessation Behaviors and Intentions to Quit Among Cigarette Smokers, 2012-2015external icon. Health Education & Behavior: May 12, 2017.
Today I start my quit journey. Free resources provided by smokefree.gov