Social Media Evaluation of the "Tips from Former Smokers 2" Campaign


In previous studies, we found strong evidence that televised anti-tobacco advertising is associated with reduced smoking among both youth and adults (Emery et al., 2012; Emery et al., 2005). Less is known about the role of conversations across newer media platforms in the relative success of tobacco control campaigns.

In March 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) launched the second phase of its “Tips from Former Smokers” national media campaign. This campaign publicized real-life stories from smokers suffering from the long-term health consequences of smoking. The ads were graphic and designed to evoke strong emotions in viewers. In this study, the Health Media Collaboratory evaluates the effects of the “Tips 2” campaign on tobacco control outcomes by measuring and characterizing the conversation about the campaign across social media. Toward that goal, our research aims to answer these questions:

  • How much social media conversation did Tips 2 generate? How much of the conversation was earned vs. promoted? How much was organic?
  • What were people saying about Tips 2 on social media platforms?
  • How well did the campaign's strategies work (traditional and nontraditional)?
  • Were higher levels of exposure to the TV ads associated with more audience engagement, as measured by social media?
  • Can geo-location data from social media posts provide evidence of geographic variability in public engagement with the Campaign?
  • Which ads generated the most conversation on each platform, and overall?
  • Is there evidence that the Tips 2 Campaign reduced smoking?
  • Did Tips 2 reach priority populations?

Funding Agency

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health


Principal investigator
Sherry L. Emery, MBA, PhD


Jidong Huang, PhD
Yoonsang Kim, MPH, PhD

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About this grant

This research is part of a larger study, Tobacco Control in a Rapidly Changing Media Environment. This new work is supported by a supplemental grant to NCI Grant No. U01CA154254.

Related publications

Abril EP, Szczypka G, Emery SL. LMFAO! Humor as a response to fear: Decomposing fear control within the extended parallel process model. J Broadcast Electron Media. 2017;61(1):126-143. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2016.1273921.

Ayers JW, Althouse BM, Emery S. Changes in Internet searches associated with the "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign. Am J Prev Med. 2015 Jun;48(6):e27-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.03.015.

Kornfield R, Smith KC, Szczypka G, Vera L, Emery S. Earned media and public engagement with CDC's "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign: an analysis of online news and blog coverage. J Med Internet Res. 2015 Jan 20;17(1):e12. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3645.

Emery SL, Szczypka G, Abril EP, Kim Y, Vera L. Are you scared yet?: Evaluating fear appeal messages in tweets about the Tips campaign. J Commun. 2014 Apr;64:278-295.