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Powerful stories from former smokers help current smokers quit


Dr. Alan Melnick, Public Health
Phone: (360) 397-8412

Vancouver, WA – Following last year’s successful national tobacco education campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is airing a second national ad series featuring people living with smoking-related diseases.

In the newest “Tips from Former Smokers” ads, former smokers describe with unflinching honesty the permanent impact of smoking. The ads will run on Vancouver-Portland area cable TV stations through September 7.

(Note to media: To arrange an interview with Shawn, a Washington resident and former smoker featured in the CDC ads (, contact Don Strick at (360) 397-8000 ext. 7307 or

More than 16 million Americans suffer from chronic diseases related to smoking. The ads show lesser-known conditions — gum disease, pre-term birth, complications associated with HIV — along with more common conditions such as cancer. They encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support, or visit to view the campaign ads and get free advice.

“As a doctor and a public health administrator, I know all too well the terrible toll of smoking,” said Clark County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick. “We hope these hard-hitting ads will motivate more people to quit and deter others from ever starting.”

The Tips campaign is an important counter to the more than $8.3 billion spent annually by the tobacco industry to make cigarettes more attractive and more affordable, particularly for youth and young adults.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S., killing about 480,000 Americans each year. For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more people suffer at least one serious illness from smoking.

Clark County data
• During the five-year period 2008-2012, 27 percent of all deaths in Clark County were attributed to smoking, according to Washington State Department of Health.
• The estimated successful quit rate is about 14 percent among Clark County tobacco users enrolled in the Washington State Tobacco Quit Line in the last year.
• More than 80 percent of landlords who attended an October 2013 training in Clark County said they had no-smoking rules at their properties.
• In 2011-2012, about 17 percent of Clark County adults were smokers, the same as the state rate, and lower than the national rate of 19 percent.
• In 2011-2012, 11 percent of Clark County teens smoked, vs. 10 percent in the state; 12 percent of pregnant mothers smoked, vs. 9 percent in the state.

Local smoking cessation classes
• Sea Mar Community Health Center, Vancouver: Eight one-hour sessions. Free for adults with no health insurance. (360) 566-4425
• Seventh Day Adventist, Vancouver: Nine-day session offered periodically. (503) 850-3500
• Providence Health Plan, Portland: Eight, 90-minute sessions. (800) 562-8964

Toll-free phone resources
• Washington Tobacco Quit Line (800) Quit-Now (784-8669) FREE
• National Cancer Institute (877) 448-7848 FREE
• Quit For Life (800) 292-2336
• Free and Clear (866) 301-3866 option 2
• National Cancer Information Center (800) 227-2345 FREE

Online resources
• American Cancer Society:
• Become an EX:
• How to Quit:
• Quit Net:
• Freedom from Smoking:
• Quitting Smokeless:
• Be Tobacco Free:
• My Time to Quit:
• Way 2 Quit:
• Breathe Program:

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Spanish contact information

(360) 397-8000 ext. 7205

Russian contact information

(360) 397-8000 ext. 7214