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CDC's anti-smoking ad campaign returns for sixth year

Quit smoking now — or better yet, don’t start.

That’s the message real people are sharing through their real, personal stories as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips From Former Smokers™ campaign, which just returned for its sixth year.

Launched in 2012, Tips™ is a national tobacco education campaign that profiles both former smokers and nonsmokers living with long-term health effects caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. The campaign features men and women — who vary in age, background and health — in ads that focus on smoking-related health conditions like cancerheart diseaseHIV and mental illness.

Some of the stories in the Tips campaign include:

Christine, who started smoking at age 16. At 44, she was diagnosed with oral cancer and eventually had to have half of her jaw removed.

Marlene, who started smoking in high school. At age 56, she started losing her vision, and now gets shots in her eyes every month to avoid further vision loss.

Brandon, who started smoking at age 15. At 18, he was diagnosed with Buerger's disease, and had to have both his legs and several fingertips amputated.

With more than 16 million Americans living with smoking-related diseases, the Tipscampaign raises awareness about the health and emotional impact of cigarette smoking, encourages smokers to quit and offers free resources for how to quit and stay smoke-free. The ad participants share the trials they face every day as a result of smoking and secondhand smoke in hopes that their experiences can help others.

Evidence shows that since its inception, Tips has motivated more than 5 million smokers to attempt to quit, and an estimated 500,000 of those smokers have quit for good. The more smokers saw Tips ads, the greater intentions they had to quit. The campaign saves lives (the 2012 campaign averted at least 17,000 premature deaths) and saves money.

This impact, along with the drop in the youth smoking rate to 6 percent, underscores the effectiveness of public education campaigns like Tips, the truth® campaign and the Food and Drug Administration’s The Real Cost campaign.

According to the latest data on quitting smoking among adults, nearly 70 percent of adult smokers say they want to quit, and more than half make a serious quit attempt each year. For more information on how to quit smoking, see our recent articles on how to make a quit plan and quitting tips from an expert.