Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. More than 16 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease. Every day, an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers. According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, 7,000 chemicals and compounds in tobacco smoke cause immediate and long-term damage, leading to disease and death. The only proven strategy to protect yourself from harm is to never smoke, and if you do smoke or use tobacco products, to quit.
To help combat this epidemic, in 2012, CDC launched the first-ever federally funded national tobacco education campaign. The campaign, Tips From Former Smokers (Tips), profiles real people—not actors—who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, including stomas, paralysis from stroke, lung removal, heart attack, limb amputations, COPD, asthma, macular degeneration, colorectal cancer, periodontal disease, premature birth and diabetes complications. Additionally, for the first time, in 2016, the Tips campaign is airing an ad aimed at smokers with anxiety and depression. These compelling stories send a powerful message: Quit smoking now—or better yet, don’t start.
What are goals of the Tips Campaign?
The Tips campaign profiles real people—not actors—who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, including stomas, paralysis from stroke, lung removal, heart attack, limb amputations, COPD, asthma, macular degeneration, colorectal cancer, periodontal disease, premature birth and diabetes complications.Additionally, for the first time, in 2016, the Tips campaign is airing an ad highlighting smokers with anxiety and depression. These compelling stories send a powerful message: Quit smoking now—or better yet, don’t start.
The goals of the 2016 Tips campaign are to:
- Build public awareness of the immediate health damage caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Encourage smokers to quit and make free help available for those who want it, including calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting CDC.gov/tips.
- Encourage smokers not to smoke around others and nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke.
More about the 2016 Campaign
The 2016 campaign features new advertisements that show the life-altering effects of smoking and tobacco use.
The ads raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease. The ads also address dual use (defined as concurrent use of both cigarettes and electronic cigarettes), and smoking among individuals with mental health conditions. Finally, a print ad features a cancer survivor focusing on the benefits of quitting.
The 2016 campaign ads began airing January 25th and will run for 20 consecutive weeks. As with previous years, the 2016 campaign will place ads on television, radio, print (magazines), out-of-home (billboards, bus shelters), and online. Additionalradio, print and out-of-home advertisements will be placed in 28 designated market areas with high smoking prevalence. The campaign also uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to deliver messages.
Research shows the 2012 Tips campaign was a “best buy” in public health, where the benchmark for a cost-effective health program is $50,000 per year of life saved. Tips spent approximately:
- $480 per smoker who quit
- $2,819 per premature death prevented
- $393 per year of life saved
- $268 per year of healthy life gained
Go to Tips Campaign Impact and Results for more information.
Meet the new 2016 Tips participants
Becky: Becky started smoking cigarettes in high school because she thought it would help her fit in. A heavy smoker for years, at age 45 Becky was diagnosed with COPD—a serious lung disease that makes it harder to breathe and can cause death. In her Tips ad, Becky talks about her need for an oxygen tank to help her breathe. View Becky’s videos.
Rebecca: Rebecca started smoking at age 16. At 33, she was diagnosed with depression. She used cigarettes as a way to cope, but her continued smoking only made her more depressed. Rebecca eventually lost some teeth due to gum disease, which is a risk for all smokers. When Rebecca’s grandson was born, she decided she never wanted him to see her smoke. This was the motivation she needed to finally quit for good. She also started running, and now she feels better—both mentally and physically. View Rebecca’s videos.
Kristy: By age 33, Kristy had been a smoker for 20 years. She had a smoker’s cough and shortness of breath and knew she had to quit. Kristy tried using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as a way to cut back on her cigarette smoking with the goal of ultimately quitting smoking altogether, but she continued to smoke regular cigarettes while using e-cigarettes. Kristy’s cough didn’t get better and eventually she stopped using e-cigarettes and went back to smoking only regular cigarettes. A few months later, at age 33, Kristy’s lung collapsed. She was diagnosed with COPD, which was caused by her cigarette smoking. View Kristy’s videos.
Brian: Brian started smoking at a very young age because he saw both of his parents and everyone around him smoking. By eighth grade, he was smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day. After high school, he joined the Air Force because he wanted a military career. At 35, still smoking and stationed in England, Brian had a heart attack and has spent much of his life since then in and out of hospitals. In his Tips ad, Brian reveals how he couldn’t serve his country because of his heart disease. View Brian’s videos.