American Lung Association Lauds Next Generation of CDC’s “Tips from Former Smokers” National Tobacco Education Campaign

(March 28, 2013)

New set of “tips” address additional lung-related health issues affecting millions in the U.S.

Editor’s Note: American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer released a video statement in support of the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign.

WASHINGTON – The American Lung Association applauds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for building on the success of its “Tips from Former Smokers” national media campaign with the launch of a new round of hard-hitting ads inspiring smokers to quit through firsthand stories from individuals suffering from life-shattering smoking-related lung diseases and disabilities. Many of the new ads address important issues and audiences that were not included in the first campaign. 

The CDC’s first “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, launched in 2012, made an immediate impact on prompting smokers to quit. Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT NOW, a number smokers across the country can call to get help quitting by phone, more than doubled during the campaign’s 12-week run. Additionally, online visitors to increased by more than fivefold.  Even more are believed to have made quit attempts on their own, or to discuss quitting with their healthcare providers.  Similar results are expected for the launch of this new round of the “Tips” campaign.

“The ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ campaign has been wildly successful at highlighting the serious and immediate dangers of tobacco use and inspiring smokers to quit,” said Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association.  “We are glad to see the CDC build on that success with messages that address even more smoking-related health conditions, including lung cancer, that are prevalent in a diverse group of Americans.”

Like last year’s inaugural Tips campaign, this iteration again features real people who are living with a variety of smoking-related diseases. This round of the campaign features health conditions that were not addressed in the first campaign, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma in adults, and smoking-related complications in persons with diabetes. It also highlights individuals from diverse ethnic and social groups such as American Indians/Alaska Natives and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Additionally, the campaign highlights the impact on family members and caretakers of those with lung disease caused by tobacco. An especially powerful piece features an African American woman who cared for her mother with lung cancer when she was only in high school—and was inspired to quit smoking years later after realizing that her own daughter is the same age she was while watching her mother die.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 440,000 Americans each year. More than 8 million Americans are living with a smoking related disease, and every day more than 1,000 youth under the age of 18 become daily smokers.

Lung cancer is the leader cancer killer of both men and women, responsible for almost 160,000 deaths each year.  Although the number of lung cancer deaths among men has plateaued, the number is still rising among women.  African Americans are more likely to develop and die from lung cancer than persons of any other racial group.

While generating impressive results, the CDC’s paid media campaign is miniscule compared to the amount of money the tobacco industry spends on product marketing often targeted at kids and teens. The tobacco industry spends over $22 million dollars a day marketing its products. 

“The tobacco industry is trying to cover up the truth with its mountain of marketing dollars,” said Wimmer.  “The ‘Tips’ campaign is making a difference with limited resources by showing the real effects of tobacco use on real people.  The Lung Association stands in strong support of this historic media campaign, and we hope the CDC continues this campaign for years to come.”
The Lung Association has been successfully helping smokers quit for more than 30 years with our Freedom From Smoking® program. In addition, the Lung Association’s Not-On-Tobacco® (N-O-T) program is designed for smokers aged 14 to 19 who want to quit and is America’s most popular smoking cessation program for teens. For assistance with quitting smoking or for additional questions about lung health, please call the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).