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CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign returns with new ads to help Kentuckians quit smoking

In Education, Local, News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign is entering its 10th year with new ads encouraging people who smoke to quit. The Tips campaign is the nation’s first federally funded tobacco education campaign and has helped more than 1 million U.S. adults to quit smoking and has inspired millions more to try to quit.

The ads will run March 1 through September 26 on national cable and network television, streaming radio, and online. The latest Tips ads will continue to share personal stories of people suffering from smoking-related illnesses. Additionally, new ads will tell the stories of family members who take care of a loved one suffering from a smoking-related disease. Caring for a loved one with a smoking-related illness can affect the caregiver’s life in various ways, including their ability to work and maintain physical and mental health.

Research shows that emotionally evocative, evidence-based campaigns, like Tips, are effective in raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and helping people who smoke to quit. These campaigns are even more effective when coupled with the availability of quitlines like 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which when dialed in Kentucky connects callers to Quit Now Kentucky. Quit Now Kentucky provides confidential support services to help people quit smoking at no cost to them. Each year when the Tips campaign is aired, there is an immediate and marked spike in calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

“For nearly a decade, the Tips campaign has inspired millions of Americans to make the life-saving decision to try to quit smoking,” said Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, PhD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “By courageously sharing deeply personal stories, the heroes in these new ads give a voice to the more than 16 million Americans living with a smoking-related disease.”

In Kentucky, approximately 8,900 residents die every year from smoking-related diseases. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. A recent study showed that from 2012–2018, the Tips campaign helped prevent an estimated 129,000 early deaths and helped save an estimated $7.3 billion in smoking-related healthcare costs.

“As an emergency physician, I know all too well the adverse effects of smoking on health,” said Kentucky Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack. “We at the Kentucky Department for Public Health are committed to helping Kentuckians understand the toll of smoking-related disease and death – and to connecting people with resources to help them quit.”

In addition to the harm it causes 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 costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity. The Tips campaign is also an important counter to the billions of dollars spent on advertising and promoting cigarettes each year.

The Tips campaign has helped drive over 150,000 calls to Quit Now Kentucky since its inception, from people across the commonwealth who want help quitting smoking, vaping, or using smokeless tobacco like dip and chew. Getting help at no cost from a quitline like Quit Now Kentucky is proven to increase a person’s chances of quitting successfully. Many Kentuckians are also eligible for quit-smoking medications like gum, patches, or lozenges at no cost to them. Using these medications doubles a person’s chance of staying quit.

Cigarette smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. For every American who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more suffer at least one serious illness from smoking. Nearly 70% of smokers say they want to quit. This campaign encourages smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or to visit for help quitting at no cost to them.

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