Let stories from former smokers encourage you or someone you love to quit.
Each year in the United States, more people die from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol—combined. Tobacco-related death and disease still affect too many loved ones and friends. If you smoke cigarettes or know someone who does, now is a great time to quit. Quitting can be hard, and people quit smoking for many different reasons. Some smokers have reported that they need to see and hear what it would be like to live with the health consequences of smoking in order to become motivated to quit.
Now in its seventh year, CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign continues to bring compelling messages designed to inspire smokers to quit. These messages highlight the faces and lives of real people who have been harmed by cigarette smoking. This April, watch for new TV ads that call attention to cancer and other diseases experienced by former smokers.
Former smoker, Christine, was diagnosed with oral cancer at age 44.
Christine, a woman from Pennsylvania, ate healthy foods, got regular physical activity, and had a good quality of life overall. So she didn’t think smoking cigarettes would hurt her. At age 44, she was diagnosed with oral cancer, which was caused by smoking. Christine was surprised at her diagnosis. She knew nothing about oral cancer or how it was treated. Doctors had to use skin from her arm and muscle from her shoulder, chest, and neck to reconstruct her jaw. Now, at age 55, Christine has no teeth and only half of her jaw.
In one of the upcoming Tips® TV ads, Christine talks about how she never thought she smoked that much. She relates to other smokers who might also think the number of cigarettes they smoke is not a problem. Christine reminds other smokers that, “If you smoke, you’re a smoker. Just like I was.”
Sharon, a former smoker diagnosed with throat cancer at age 37, hopes young people can learn from her mistake of thinking smoking is cool.
Brian’s cigarette smoking led to lung cancer, a heart transplant, and other illnesses he has suffered.
Sharon, from Illinois, was diagnosed with throat cancer at age 37. Now at age 58, she speaks through a tube in her windpipe because she lost her voice box to cancer. In one ad, Sharon tells the story of how she started smoking in junior high school because of peer pressure. Today she hopes her 12-year-old granddaughter and other teens and young adults can learn from her mistake of thinking smoking is cool. “It doesn’t take long to get hooked,” Sharon warns.
Brian is a 62-year-old military veteran from Texas. He reveals in his TV ad that, as a result of cigarette smoking, he has had a heart attack, lung cancer, and a heart transplant. In addition, he suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has had a heart bypass operation and part of a lung removed. “If smoking doesn’t get you one way,” he warns, “it’ll get you another.”
Brian’s story is a clear reminder that cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, leads to many diseases and disability, and reduces the health of smokers in general. Quitting can lower your risk of disease and add years to your life.
Saving Lives Through Personal Stories
Sharon, Christine, and Brian, along with 30 others, have lent their personal stories to the Tips campaign since 2012. These everyday heroes have given a voice to the millions of Americans living with a smoking-related disease. Since 2012, CDC estimates that millions of Americans have tried to quit smoking cigarettes because of the campaign, and at least half a million have quit for good.
Watch for new Tips From Former Smokers® advertisements in 2018.
New Tips ads will begin airing April 23, 2018, and run for about 25 weeks in every media market in the country. Ads will be placed on broadcast and cable TV, radio, and billboards; online; and in magazines and newspapers. Spanish-language ads will run on Hispanic TV and digital networks, and Asian-language newspaper ads will run in cities with large Asian populations. The ads are designed to give viewers hard-hitting reminders that cigarette smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems. Three goals of the 2018 Tips campaign are to:
build public awareness of the damage caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke;
encourage smokers not to smoke around others and nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke; and
encourage smokers to quit, and to make free help available to them.
If you or someone you know smokes cigarettes, now is a great time to quit smoking. For free help quitting, call to speak to a quit coach who can help you start your quit plan today:
1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) (for Spanish speakers). This free service offers a lot of resources, including coaching, help with making a quit plan, educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live.
The Asian Smokers’ Quitline is a free nationwide Asian-language service that offers self-help materials, referral to local programs, one-on-one telephone counseling, and free nicotine replacement therapy medication.
Smokefree TXT. This free 24/7 texting program sends encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers quit smoking for good. To get started, just text QUIT to 47848, answer a few questions, and you’ll start receiving messages.
Online help. This Tips From Former Smokers®web page provides helpful online quit resources.
Smokefree App. The QuitGuide is a free app that tracks cravings, moods, slips, and smokefree progress to help you understand your smoking patterns and build the skills needed to become and stay smokefree.