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National Tobacco Education Campaign
Tips From Former Smokers: Smoking Causes Immediate Damage to Your Body. Learn More.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) launched a groundbreaking campaign on March 15, 2012, to raise awareness of the human suffering caused by smoking and to encourage smokers to quit. The campaign is calledTips From Former Smokersand it featured real people who have experienced a variety of illnesses stemming from tobacco use, including cancer, heart attack, stroke, asthma, and Buerger’s disease. The ads not only showed the toll that these smoking-related illnesses have taken on these individuals’ lives, but they also provided encouragement to quit smoking and information on how to access free help.

The campaign ads, which began airing on March 19th and ran nationally for 12 weeks, included television, radio, billboard, magazine, newspaper, theater, and online placements. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other channels helped spread the campaign's messages more broadly, particularly among younger audiences.

The primary goals of the campaign were to:

  • Encourage smokers to quit and make available help for those who want it, including calling 1-800-QUITNOW or visiting www.smokefree.gov for free help
  • Build public awareness of the immediate health 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
IMPACT OF THE CAMPAIGN: The NTEC generated nearly 200,000 additional calls to state quitlines through 1-800-QUIT-NOW and over 400,000 unique visitors to www.smokefree.gov. CDC expects that the Campaign will surpass its goal of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful longterm quits. CDC plans to release a formal evaluation of the Campaign later this year. Please find the press release from June 14 here. To access the MMWR article titled Increases in Quitline Calls and Smoking Cessation Website Visitors During a National Tobacco Education Campaign — March 19–June 10, 2012 please click here (page 667). 

Archived materials from the campaign:

What Are the Campaign Goals?

  • Encourage smokers to quit and make available help for those who want it, including calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting www.smokefree.gov for free help
  • Build public awareness of the immediate health 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

Who Did the Campaign Try to Reach?

  • The primary audience is adult smokers ages 18 through 54.
  • Secondary audiences include parents, family members, and adolescents.
  • Spanish-language materials (TV, radio, and print) have been developed to reach Spanish-speaking Hispanics/Latinos.

What Are the Key Messages of the Campaign?

  • Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term suffering.
  • Now is the time to quit smoking.
  • If you want help to quit smoking, free assistance is available at1-800-QUIT-NOWwww.smokefree.gov, or www.cdc.gov/tobacco.

What Media Vehicles/Channels Were Used?

Paid advertising and public service announcements (PSAs) were placed in/on television, radio, print (magazines), newspapers, out-of-home (billboards, bus shelters), in-theater, and online through digital video, search, and mobile channels. Additional information and resources were made available to the public through the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How Long Did the Campaign Run?

The paid portion of the campaign began on March 19th and ran for 12 weeks. The PSAs, including an advertisement that specifically promotes quitting, ran a bit longer.

What Resources Were Included on the Ads?

Most of the ads were tagged with the national quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and/or www.smokefree.gov. The digital ads, including digital video, are included on the CDC campaign Web site www.cdc.gov/quitting/tips.

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