Tips Campaign Matte Article for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Community
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 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 6, 2023, highlight the immediate and long-term damage caused by smoking and encourage people who smoke to quit.
Cigarette smoking rates are high in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. In 2020, 16.1% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults smoked, while 12.3% heterosexual/straight adults smoked cigarettes. Tobacco companies have aggressively marketed tobacco products to the LGBTQ+ community, spending millions to place tobacco ads in LGBTQ+ magazines and newspapers and on websites.
CDC’s Tips campaign features two members of the LGBTQ+ community, Brian I. and Ellie N. Brian started living openly as a gay man when he was 20 years old. Like many others who smoke, 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 the LGBTQ+ community.
Brian had tough health problems—including being very sick with HIV/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 the LGBTQ+ community. 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 LGBTQ+-focused magazines and online ads that reach the LGBTQ+ community. “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. From 2012–2018, CDC estimates that 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.”
Download photos of Tips participants Brian I. and Ellie N. to use with the matte article for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. These photos are available for public use. Permission is not required.
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Photo of Brian I., age 45, California; had a stroke triggered by smoking combined with HIV/AIDS
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