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3 key messages from CDC’s tobacco education campaign

The Tips From Former Smokers® campaign has returned for its seventh year to continue to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking through real stories of people living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities.

Launched in 2012, Tips is a national tobacco education campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that profiles former smokers and nonsmokers living with long-term health effects caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. The video and print campaign appears nationally across TV, online and print outlets.

In one video, a woman reveals how oral cancer led to getting skin grafts on her arms and neck, and having half of her jaw removed. In another, a man talks about how he struggled with his addiction to cigarettes and finally quit after his voice box was removed because of throat cancer.

The videos focus on the campaign’s three key messages meant to encourage nonsmokers to stay smoke-free and motivate current smokers to quit.

1. Smoking causes immediate and long-term damage.

Tips ads focus on smoking-related health conditions, such as cancerheart diseaseasthmadiabetesHIV and mental health conditions. Smoking can also cause many other health problems, including complications with surgery and pregnancy.

In the U.S., tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death. Smoking kills more than 540,000 Americans each year.

2. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.

For each American who dies from smoking, at least 30 live with a serious smoking-related illness, according to the CDC.

Tips participants share the trials they face every day as a result of smoking and secondhand smoke in hopes that their experiences can help others. Some of the stories in the Tips campaign include:

Brian, a 63-year-old Air Force veteran who had his first heart attack at age 35. He quit smoking in 2009 and received a heart transplant in 2012. In 2017, Brian was diagnosed with lung cancer and had part of his lung removed.

Sharon, a 58-year-old who started smoking at 13 years old. When she was 37, Sharon was diagnosed with throat cancer.

3. Quit smoking while you can.

Smokers who quit significantly reduce their risk of death and disease, and there are health benefits of quitting at any age. Nearly 70 percent of adult smokers say they want to quit and more than half make a serious quit attempt each year, according to the latest data on quitting smoking among adults. Since 2012, the CDC estimates that at least half a million Americans quit smoking cigarettes for good because of the Tips campaign.

For information on how to quit smoking, read tips for people trying to quit smoking and how to make a quit plan. For more information on the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, visit