Tips Campaign Matte Article for American Indians/Alaska Natives

CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® Campaign Airing a New Round of Hard-Hitting Commercials

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing its federally funded national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®)—with hard-hitting TV commercials that feature real people living with the health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. The Tips campaign also tells the personal stories of family members taking care of loved ones living with a smoking-related illness or disability, as they share the impact smoking has had on all their lives.

The campaign ads, which air beginning on March 1, 2021, highlight the immediate and long-term damage caused by smoking and encourage people who smoke to quit.

Cigarette smoking is more common among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults than most other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Although cigarette smoking prevalence in the general population has declined in recent years, prevalence among the AI/AN population remains high. In 2019, more than 1 in 5 (20.9%) AI/AN adults in the United States smoked cigarettes, compared with about 1 in 7 (14.0%) U.S. adults overall.

Two Native Americans, Michael P. and Nathan M., are featured in CDC’s Tips campaign. They both hoped that by sharing their stories, they could help other AI/AN adults who smoke to quit.

Michael, a member of the Tlingit tribe in Alaska, tried his first cigarette at the age of 9, then smoked for most of his adult life. He was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at age 44, but ignored the symptoms until age 52, when he awoke one day gasping for air. He quit smoking that day.

Michael had the diseased parts of his lungs removed to make breathing easier, but his doctor said that Michael needed a lung transplant. “I used to play volleyball and hike in the mountains, but I don’t do that anymore,” he said. “I avoid anything that involves running and carrying things. I stay away from smoke and exhaust. Now, it’s all about friends, good memories, and living a little bit longer.” Michael died in 2020 at the age of 64.

Nathan, a Native American and member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, never smoked cigarettes, but for 11 years he worked at a casino that allowed smoking. The exposure to secondhand smoke triggered asthma attacks and caused him to develop serious infections that eventually led to permanent lung damage called bronchiectasis.

“A common cold escalated into pneumonia, sending me to the emergency room,” he said. “During one of the visits, a doctor was looking at x-rays of my lungs and commented that I had the lungs of a heavy smoker. I told him, ‘I never smoked a day in my life!’”

His lung problems were so serious that Nathan finally had to leave his job to avoid the smoke. He would run out of breath just walking a short distance and had to use oxygen daily. Sadly, Nathan’s lung damage led to his death in October 2013. He was 54.

CDC launched the first Tips campaign in 2012 to lower smoking rates and save lives. As Tips enters its 10th year on air, the campaign has proven to be very successful. CDC estimates that from 2012–2018, approximately one million people successfully quit smoking and more than 16.4 million attempted to quit because of the Tips campaign.

“Smoking doesn’t just kill; it can disable, disfigure and rob people who smoke of their independence,” said Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, PhD, MPH, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “While some of these ads can be difficult to watch, they show the challenges that real people face every day as a result of smoking in a way that statistics cannot. By providing information, resources, and motivation, the Tips® campaign has proven to be highly effective in helping people across the country quit smoking.”

For more information about the Tips campaign and resources for quitting smoking, visit CDC.gov/tips. For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

 

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This prewritten matte article about the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign is ready for adaptation and use by journalists, bloggers, and other members of the media and for organizations’ newsletters.

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Download photos of Tips participants Michael P. and Nathan M. to use with the matte article for American Indians/Alaska Natives. These photos are available for public use. Permission is not required.

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