New TV Ads, New Stories for CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues its national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers—with hard-hitting, new ads that show the harms caused by smoking. Beginning last month, ads will appear for a total of 9 weeks across television, radio, billboards, and online media as well as in theaters, magazines, and newspapers. Ads will run on English and Spanish television.

July 2014 Tips Participants

The new ads feature seven real people whose lives have been permanently affected by smoking. All of the people featured in the Tips ad campaign hope their stories will help other smokers quit. Three of those stories are as follows:

Rose: Rose grew up in a small Texas town, and at age 13, she started smoking. Over time, she developed a two-pack-a-day cigarette addiction and nearly lost a foot because of clogged blood vessels. Before Rose could have surgery on her leg, a chest x-ray showed that she had lung cancer, which later spread to her brain. Two surgeries later, Rose stays in close contact with her cancer doctors. “I regret picking up smoking in the first place,” said Rose.

Shawn: Shawn lives in Washington and started smoking at age 14 to fit in at a new school. In his mid-40s, a chronic cough and laryngitis turned out to be throat cancer. He endured 38 radiation treatments and finally quit smoking—but doctors were unable to save his larynx. He now has a stoma (opening) that allows him to breathe and a laryngeal implant that allows him to speak.

Terrie: Terrie lived in North Carolina and began smoking in high school. At age 40, she was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers and had her larynx removed. Terrie courageously fought cancer until her death at age 53 in the fall of 2013. She shares a powerful message in a new ad, filmed days before she passed away. More than anything, Terrie wanted to help motivate smokers to quit so they could avoid the pain and suffering that she went through.

Tips Campaign Results

CDC launched the first Tips From Former Smokers campaign in 2012 to lower smoking rates and save lives. A CDC study published in The Lancet1 indicates that because of the campaign in 2012:

  • An estimated 1.64 million Americans tried to quit smoking.
  • At least 100,000 smokers who tried to quit are expected to stay quit.
  • An estimated 6 million nonsmokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking.
  • An estimated 4.7 million additional nonsmokers recommended quit services to their friends and family.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. For every smoking-related death, at least 30 people live with a smoking-related illness. The only proven strategy to protect yourself from harm is to never smoke, and if you do smoke or use tobacco products, to quit. ■


1. Xiao D, Chen Z, Wang C: Effects of a short-term mass-media campaign against smoking. Lancet 382:1964-1966, 2013.