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Tips™ Campaign Matte Article for People With Mental Health Conditions

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.

One of the conditions highlighted in the campaign is depression. Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, than in the general population. In fact, during 2009-2011, at least 3 out of every 10 cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States were smoked by persons with mental health conditions. Why smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions is not fully understood. More research is needed to determine this. No matter the cause‚ smoking is not a treatment for depression or anxiety. Getting help for depression and anxiety and quitting smoking is the best way to feel better. Recent research has shown that adult smokers with mental health conditions—like other smokers—want to quit, can quit, and benefit from proven stop-smoking treatments.

Rebecca, age 54, is one of the former smokers featured in the Tips campaign. She started smoking cigarettes at age 16. All of her family members smoked, and once she started, she was addicted. As an adult, she tried to stop, but like many smokers, soon discovered she had trouble quitting.

Rebecca was diagnosed with depression at age 33. She smoked when she felt depressed because she thought it might help her cope. When she tried to quit and couldn’t, she felt even more depressed. “That was just a vicious, vicious cycle,” she said. Rebecca knew her health was in danger when she developed severe gum disease—a risk for all smokers. To break this cycle, Rebecca knew she had to get care for her depression and quit smoking for good.

Rebecca was finally able to stop smoking and make a fresh, tobacco-free start. She wanted to be a good role model for her grandson, so she dedicated herself to a healthier lifestyle, started exercising, and went to therapy to get help for her depression.

As Rebecca started enjoying life as a nonsmoker, she felt encouraged by the positive changes and progress she had made. “I learned that I have the power to change. It is all within me,” said Rebecca.

"Most smokers want to quit. They don’t want to suffer," 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."

CDC launched the first Tips campaign in 2012 to lower smoking rates and save lives. Results of a CDC study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, indicate that 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.

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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