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CDC launches new ads to encourage people to quit smoking

female hand crushing cigarette

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tips From Former Smokers (Tips®) campaign returns today with new ads to encourage people to quit smoking. This year, seven new people are featured in the ads sharing their stories about how cigarette smoking and smoking-related diseases have negatively impacted their lives.

Many of this year’s new ads include messaging about the harms of menthol cigarettes, which can contribute to tobacco-related health disparities. Menthol in cigarettes can make it easier to start smoking and harder to quit. The Tips campaign promotes messages and free resources to help adults quit smoking. Year after year, the campaign has proven its effectiveness and has saved lives and money by helping more than one million U.S. adults to quit smoking and inspiring millions more to try to quit.

Real people, real stories inspire people to quit smoking

Tips tells the stories of more than 45 brave people from different backgrounds who have been impacted by the serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. New 2024 ads feature the following people:

  • Angie P. smoked menthol cigarettes because she thought it would help her cope with the fear that people around her would not accept that she is gay. She smoked for 26 years. She wants to encourage other LGBTQ+ people who smoke to love themselves and protect their health by quitting smoking.
  • Elizabeth B. and Stephen B. Elizabeth smoked menthol cigarettes for 35 years. She has smoking-related peripheral artery disease, which makes walking difficult and sometimes painful. She also developed kidney cancer. Her husband, Stephen, helps take care of her.
  • Ethan B. smoked menthol cigarettes for 39 years. He grew up seeing ads that convinced him smoking menthol cigarettes was “cool.” As an adult, he had multiple smoking-related strokes.
  • John B. smoked for 22 years. He tried several different ways to quit smoking, but nothing seemed to work. He kept trying until he found the methods that worked best for him. Those methods included counseling and two quit-smoking medicines.
  • Noel S. smoked menthol cigarettes for more than 20 years. He suffered a smoking-related heart attack at age 36. Noel quit smoking so he could be around to watch his younger family members grow up.
  • Tammy W. ate healthy, exercised regularly, and ran marathons. She also smoked menthol cigarettes for 23 years. She told herself that menthol cigarettes were less harmful than non-menthol cigarettes. At age 44, she had severe heart disease and needed open heart surgery.

“While cigarette smoking among adults has declined, it remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States, and some groups continue to be affected more than others,” said Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, PhD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “The Tips campaign reaches adults with compelling messages and information to motivate them to quit smoking. It also promotes free resources that can help them quit – no matter who they are or where they live.”

Tips is the first federally-funded national tobacco education campaign. It uses multi-media platforms to increase the reach of quit smoking messages. Tips ads will run nationally on broadcast and cable TV, and on digital and social media channels. Additional ads will be placed to reach specific audiences including people who are African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ+, and deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Menthol cigarettes contribute to tobacco-related health disparities in the United States

Though fewer people in the U.S. smoke cigarettes now than in recent decades, the use of menthol cigarettes among people who smoke has increased. This includes groups that already have higher percentages of tobacco use and tobacco-related health problems.

Tobacco companies add menthol to make their products seem less harsh and more appealing to people who have never used cigarettes. Menthol enhances the effects of nicotine on the brain and can make cigarettes even more addictive. People who smoke menthol cigarettes can be less likely to successfully quit than people who smoke non-menthol cigarettes.

Young people, racial and ethnic minority groups, LGBTQ+ people, women, people with a low income, and people with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than other groups. Tobacco companies aggressively market menthol-flavored tobacco products to different groups of people, especially people who are African American. This marketing contributes to certain groups being more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than other groups.

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