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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.

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.

Cigarette smoking rates are high in LGBT communities. In 2015, about 1 in 5 (20.6%) lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults smoked, compared with about 1 in 7 (14.9%) 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 Web sites.

"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."

Brian and Ellie, both members of the LGBT community, are featured in the CDC's Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) campaign. Brian started living openly as a gay man when he was 20. Like many smokers, he had been 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-thirties, 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."

The Tips campaign has been very successful. 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 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."

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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