New York State Department of Health Launches Smoking Cessation Campaign

Campaign Features Real-Life Health Challenges of a Former Smoker who Urges Others to Quit Smoking

Videos are Available in English and Spanish

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 22, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health has launched a TV and online video campaign to encourage tobacco smokers to quit. The smoking cessation campaign features an adult who was a smoker and the serious health challenges she now faces, as well as advice on planning Thanksgiving and talking with family members.

"These powerful personal videos send a strong message about the damage smoking can do to your body and how smoking can affect your family," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "I strongly encourage those who smoke to quit and to seek medical assistance. There are free resources available to help you through the process."

Four of the videos feature "Geri," who was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and is awaiting a lung transplant. She encourages people who smoke to quit, indicates she may not get a transplant in time, and offers advice on speaking with family members as well as preparing a Thanksgiving meal while living with COPD. The videos, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are available to watch here:

  • 15-second video with Geri offering Thanksgiving preparation advice for someone living with COPD.
  • 30-second video with Geri discussing the struggles of preparing a Thanksgiving meal while living with COPD.
  • 30-second video with Geri discussing her hopes of getting on the lung transplant list.
  • 15-second video with Geri urging smokers to text their children, as it may be the last time they do.

The campaign also includes a video featuring other people who smoke stating why they can't quit and visuals of people suffering from the devastating health effects of not quitting smoking. That video can be viewed here.

A third video, titled "Cigarettes Are Eating You Alive," features realistic images of the physical harm that smoking causes the human body. The English version of that video can be viewed here, with the Spanish version available here.

Each video encourages people who smoke to quit by seeking assistance from doctors who can prescribe medication to help end smoking addiction. Using medications, such as nicotine patches and lozenges, and counseling, can double the chances of successfully quitting. Medicaid, Medicare, and other health insurance plans cover treatment from a doctor, including brief counseling and FDA-approved medications that help manage symptoms from nicotine withdrawal.

For New Yorkers who want to quit smoking, vaping or using any tobacco product, the New York State Smokers' Quitline provides free and confidential evidence-based support, including information, tools, and quit coaching, in both English and Spanish, with resources for those who are not insured. Services are available by calling 1-866 NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487), texting 'Quit Now' to 333888, or visiting for information, to chat online with a Quit Coach, or to sign up for Learn2QuitNY, a six-week, step-by-step text messaging program to build the skills needed to quit any tobacco product, including vaping.

Repeated studies show that hard-hitting and graphic advertising campaigns that accurately depict the negative consequences of smoking dramatically reduce smoking initiation by youth, motivate adult smokers to make quit attempts, increase calls to health care providers and to the New York State Smokers' Quitline for quit assistance, and reduce relapse among former smokers. For more information about the effectiveness of evocative media campaigns, see Frequently Asked Questions About the Tips ® Campaign on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Information about the Department's Tobacco Control Program is available here.

Additional components of the campaign will roll out in the coming weeks.