Health & Wellness

CDC’s successful “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign returns on April 1

New emotionally powerful ads today kick off the eighth year of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign. The new ads share personal stories of Americans suffering from smoking-related illnesses—and the devastating impact of these illnesses on smokers’ families.

One of today’s new ads features Susan Nimoy, the wife of Leonard Nimoy, the American actor best known for his role as Spock on Star Trek. Mr. Nimoy quit smoking cigarettes after 37 years, but those years of smoking damaged his lungs. He suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as a result of smoking, until his death in 2015. Nimoy’s desire to educate the public about the dangers of smoking will now live on as part of CDC’s Tips campaign.

Beginning April 1, Tips ads will run for 27 weeks on national and cable television, online, and in magazines. CDC estimates that, during 2012-2015, over 9 million Americans tried to quit smoking cigarettes because of the campaign and over half a million quit for good.

“These personal stories shared by individuals and their loved ones clearly illustrate the very real impacts of cigarette smoking,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Because of their courage and willingness to educate others, those featured in these new Tips ads will continue to inspire millions of Americans to make the life-saving decision to quit smoking.”

New ads highlight harms of smoking, benefits of quitting

The new ads also feature:

  • Terrie, from North Carolina, who at age 40 was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers spoke through a stoma. Terrie died September 16, 2013, from smoking-related cancer. She was 53.
  • Dana, age 38, Terrie’s daughter, who had to live with her mother’s illness and describes how it affected the family’s life.
  • Christine, age 55, who was 44 when she was diagnosed with oral cancer, which eventually required doctors to remove half of her jaw. Christine talks about the impact her smoking-related illness has had on her family.
Images of Former Smokers with text that says,

Cigarette smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. And for every American who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more suffer at least one serious illness from smoking which damages nearly every organ in the body.

Besides the harm it does to peoples’ lives, cigarette smoking also has a significant impact on the U.S. economy. Smoking costs more than $300 billion a year—including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity. The Tips campaign is an important counter to the $8.6 billion spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes in 2017, which makes these products more attractive and more affordable.

The Tips ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or to visit to view the personal stories from the campaign. The website includes information, tools, and resources to support smokers trying to quit. For more information on the Tips campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, other campaign resources and links to the ads, visit

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Jessica van Zyl

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