CDC's Smoking Cessation Campaign Returns with New Patient Stories

The CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign has new powerful messages to encourage individuals to quit smoking.

The CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign has new powerful messages to encourage individuals to quit smoking.

Advertisements began April 1, 2019 as part of a 27 week campaign on national and cable television, online, and in magazines.1 This is the eighth year of the campaign, and the CDC estimates that from 2012-2015, the ads helped more than half a million people quit smoking permanently.1

At least 9 million individuals in the United States have tried to quit because of the CDC campaign.1 However, cigarette smoking still causes about 1of every 5 deaths annually in the US.1

The 2019 smoking cessation campaign includes ads from previous years and also focus on smoking-related diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Ads will not only feature the stories of former smokers, but also family members impacted by their smoking-related diseases.

The actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as 'Spock' in Star Trek, smoked for 37 years. Although he quit smoking, Nimoy developed COPD which caused his death in 2015. His powerful ad on the dangers of smoking will be featured as part of the campaign, along with a message from his wife Susan about his struggle with COPD.1 Other ad stories include the long-term consequences of smoking such as cancer treatments, impact on children, and death.

Pharmacists can play an important role in educating teens about the dangers of smoking in high schools and at public health fairs. Additionally, pharmacists can provide smoking cessation counseling at their pharmacies.

The CDC is providing free resources for pharmacists including brochures and posters to help patients quit smoking. The CDC has also partnered with STRAND, a company that helps pharmacists launch clinical services in the community.2 Since 2015, this partnership has helped to promote smoking cessation in independent pharmacies across the country.2

Pharmacists can use the 5 A’s to assess a patient’s willingness to quit, which include the following:3

  • Ask every patient about tobacco use
  • Advise all patients to quit
  • Assess their willingness to quit
  • Assist with quitting
  • Arrange follow-up.

Pharmacists can also recommend and counsel patients on pharmacotherapy options for smoking cessation such as nicotine replacement therapy.


  • Former smokers and their families speak out. CDC website. Last reviewed April 1, 2019. Accessed April 5, 2019.
  • Healthcare providers: tools and resources. CDC website. Last reviewed March 28, 2019. Accessed April 5, 2019.
  • Five major steps to intervention (the “5 A’s”). AHRQ website. Published December 2012. Accessed April 5, 2019.

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