Tips® Campaign Matte Article for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Communities
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.
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 air beginning April 2019, will again highlight the immediate and long-term damage caused by smoking, and encourage smokers to quit.
Cigarette smoking rates are high in LGBT communities. In 2017 about 1 in 5 (20.3%) lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults smoked, compared with about 1 in 7 (13.7%) heterosexual/straight adults. This high rate may be partly due to the stress related to prejudices and stigma that members of the LGBT communities can face. It may also be because tobacco companies have aggressively marketed tobacco products to LGBT communities, spending millions to place tobacco ads in LGBT magazines and newspapers and on websites.
“The tobacco industry has established a presence in LGBT communities that is dangerous and deadly. The higher smoking rates mean a greater percentage of smoking-related diseases claiming many more LGBT lives,” said Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, MPH, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “CDC is dedicated to working with LGBT communities to reduce smoking rates.”
CDC’s Tips campaign features two members of the LGBT community, Brian and Ellie. Brian started living openly as a gay man when he was 20. Like many smokers, he was a teenager when he picked up his first cigarette. Smoking seemed daring to him—a symbol of freedom and independence. He eventually noticed that smoking seemed to be everywhere he went among LGBT communities.
Brian had tough health problems—including being very sick with AIDS—and he had tried many times to quit smoking. Many people may not be aware that smoking is especially dangerous for those who are living with HIV. At age 43, Brian had a blood clot in his lungs, a stroke, and surgery on an artery in his neck. “It took a stroke for me to actually stop smoking,” said Brian.
Ellie never smoked cigarettes but worked in smoke-filled bars that served LGBT communities. When she was in her mid-30s, she started having asthma attacks. After several hospital visits and with the help of her doctor, Ellie realized her asthma attacks were triggered by people smoking where she worked. She was forced to choose between her health and keeping her job that she loved. Ellie chose her health. Today, Ellie works in a smokefree environment. “Everyone deserves to work in a smokefree workplace,” she said.
Brian and Ellie’s ads, which show the harsh reality of the health problems linked to smoking, have been placed in LGBT-focused magazines and online ads that reach LGBT communities. “Smoking is something that you do have control over,” Brian said. “You can stop. And it’s worth your life to stop smoking.”
CDC launched the first Tips campaign in 2012 to lower smoking rates and save lives. Results of a recent study show that during 2012–2018, CDC estimates that more than 16.4 million people who smoke have attempted to quit and approximately one million have quit for good because of the Tips campaign.
“Most smokers want to quit. They don’t want to suffer or be a burden on their families,” said Dr. Graffunder. “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.”
Download photos of Tips participants Brian, Ellie and Rose to use with the matte article for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT). These photos are available for public use. Permission is not required.
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Photo of Brian, age 45, California; had a stroke triggered by smoking combined with HIV
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Photo of Ellie, age 57, Florida; had asthma attack triggered by secondhand smoke at 35
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