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Tips™ Campaign Matte Article for African Americans

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.

CDC's Tips From Former Smokers™ Campaign To Air Hard-Hitting Commercials Beginning January 2017

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing its national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers (Tips)—with hard-hitting TV commercials that feature real people who have experienced the harms caused by smoking. The campaign ads, which will air beginning January 2017, will again highlight the immediate and long-term damage caused by smoking, and encourage smokers to quit.

Smoking puts people at risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death for African Americans. About 1 in 6 (16.7%) non-Hispanic African American adults in the United States smokes cigarettes.

Julia and Tiffany, two African American women who are Tips campaign ad participants, tell their stories in hopes that they can effectively communicate the risks of smoking and the harsh reality of the health problems that can occur.

Tiffany was 16 years old when her mother, a cigarette smoker, died from lung cancer. "Watching her suffer and cough was awful," Tiffany recalled. "I felt alone and scared, and I felt it could have been prevented." Despite that experience, Tiffany started smoking when she was 19. Through the years she tried to quit, but it wasn't until her own daughter, Jaelin, was 16 that she made the connection to her mother and made a serious attempt to quit. Today, Tiffany enjoys a healthier lifestyle without cigarettes, and Jaelin remains her main inspiration for quitting. "I don't want to miss watching my daughter grow up," Tiffany said.

Julia, a mother from Mississippi, was 49 when she nearly died from colon cancer. She developed cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Then one day, her pain and bloating got much, much worse, and she had a colon exam. "I will never forget that day. I was so sick. They found the tumor in my colon and rushed me to the hospital," said Julia. The tumor completely blocked her intestines, which can be life threatening. Julia had surgery right away, followed by months of chemotherapy to treat the cancer. She also needed an ostomy bag, which was taped to a hole in her abdomen to collect waste. Julia has since quit smoking and says her life is so much better without cigarettes. “My colostomy was an important part of my healing process. It allowed me to heal and prevented me from getting an infection or worse,” said Julia. “I would do it again, because it saved my life.” Julia hopes that people who hear her story about smoking and colon cancer will quit as soon as possible.

CDC launched the first Tips campaign in 2012 to lower smoking rates and save lives, and the campaign has been very successful since then. Results of a CDC study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, show that in 2012 an estimated 1.64 million smokers tried to quit during the 2012 campaign period, and about 100,000 of them quit for good. After the launch of the nine-week long 2014 campaign, 1.83 million smokers attempted to quit smoking and an estimated 104,000 quit smoking for good.

"Most smokers want to quit. They don’t want to suffer or be a burden on their families," said Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, MPH, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "By showing how real people and their families are affected by smoking-related diseases, the Tips™ campaign can help motivate people to quit for good."

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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