Tips Campaign Matte Article for Military Service Members and Veterans

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.

CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Campaign Airing a New Round of Hard-Hitting Commercials

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.

In the United States, cigarette smoking prevalence is higher among people who serve in the military than among the civilian population. During 2010-2015, more than 1 in 5 (21.6%) veterans in the United States reported currently smoking cigarettes. In 2018, 14.6% of veterans enrolled for care reported current cigarette smoking. In comparison, an estimated 12.5% of all U.S. adults currently smoked cigarettes in 2020.

CDC’s Tips campaign features two military veterans, Brian H. and Mark A. Brian started smoking at age 12. When he enlisted in the United States Air Force at age 19, he struggled with job stress and often smoked cigarettes in an effort to cope.

At age 35, Brian suffered a heart attack. He slowly regained his strength but kept smoking. “The moment I walked out of the hospital, I started sneaking cigarettes again,” Brian said.

Over the next several years, Brian had more heart surgeries, and he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Eventually, his doctor told him that his heart was so damaged that he would need a heart transplant. “I went from being able to travel the world to confining my life either at home or going to doctors…all because of cigarettes,” Brian said.

Brian quit smoking completely in 2009 and had a heart transplant in 2012. However, the damage caused by years of smoking continued to affect his body. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017 and had part of his lung removed. After more than 30 years of suffering with multiple smoking-related health problems, Brian died in 2022 at age 68.

Mark is a Tips participant who joined the United States Air Force at age 19. He smoked cigarettes and used smokeless tobacco through two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf. In 2009, at age 42, he developed colorectal cancer.

“Everything just—it came to a grinding halt,” said Mark. “I literally looked at this tumor on the monitor and realized, ‘I have cancer. I could die!’” He was able to quit, and today, Mark has been cancer-free for more than 6 years.

By sharing their stories, both Brian and Mark hoped that they would inspire and encourage people who smoke to quit.

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.”

Quitting Help

Veterans receiving health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can access the VA quitline at 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838).

Active duty and retired service members and their families can access cessation counseling, cessation medicines, quitlines, and other services through TRICARE coverage and U.S. Defense Department programs.



Recommended Photos for Matte Article

Download photos of Tips participants Brian H. and Mark A. to use with the matte article for military service members and veterans. These photos are available for public use. Permission is not required.

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