Tips From Former Smokers
The campaign features real people suffering as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.Their compelling stories send a powerful message: Quit smoking now. Or better yet — don't start.
CDC continues to raise awareness of the negative health effects caused by smoking, encouraging smokers to quit, and encouraging nonsmokers to protect themselves and their families from exposure to secondhand smoke.
This campaign features smoking during pregnancy and multiple health conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], asthma in adults, smoking-related complications in a person with diabetes).
Jamason has had asthma attacks triggered by exposure to secondhand smoke. "I was 16. People were smoking near me. My chest got really tight. I was trying to breathe, trying to get air into my lungs. I couldn't bear it!"
Jessica's son, Aden, was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with asthma. Although Jessica never smoked, many of Aden's attacks were triggered by exposure to secondhand smoke. Jessica's mother, who watched Aden during the day while Jessica was at work, was a smoker. Unfortunately, Jessica didn't know the connection between secondhand smoke exposure and asthma.
Ellie was in her mid-30's when she had her first asthma attack — triggered by exposure to secondhand smoke. She loved her job as a bartender, but began to dread going to work. She says, "I could feel my lungs getting tighter. I knew I couldn't be around the smoke or I was going to die, or something bad was going to happen to me." Eventually Ellie quit her job for the sake of her health, but feels everyone deserves to have a safe and healthy work environment.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Terrie Hall – a true American hero. Terrie appeared in ads run by CDC for the Tips From Former Smokers media campaign, which encouraged several million smokers to try to quit. Terrie died on September 16, 2013 from the effects of the cancer caused by the cigarette smoking she began in high school. Treating her cancer required multiple surgeries over the years, including the loss of her voice box, leaving a hole in her throat. In her last summer the cancer spread to her brain, and despite radiation and surgery, the cancer spread further.
Terrie wanted to save people from having to go through the sickness and surgeries she endured. She decided to let smokers and young people see her disfigurement and know what caused it, so that they would stop smoking – or better still, never start. She spoke at schools and before other small groups. But the Tips from Former Smokers campaign gave Terrie her biggest platform. More than a hundred million Americans saw her ads on television, the Internet, in magazines, on billboards and at bus stops – and many of them decided to try to quit smoking. Strangers came up to her in drugstores and hugged her to thank her for inspiring them to quit. By her willingness to show and tell people what cigarette smoking had done to her, Terrie saved thousands of American lives.
Our heartfelt condolences go to Terrie's family and friends, along with our promise that her legacy lives on, inspiring us toward the goal of rapidly ending the death and suffering caused by smoking in America.
Visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/ for more information and video stories from the real people involved.
Bill is angry with himself that he ever accepted that first cigarette. "When I was 15, I started smoking. It was a stupid thing I wish I could take back." Bill has diabetes. He learned the hard way that smoking makes diabetes harder to control. At 37, Bill went blind in his left eye from a detached retina—damage to the inner lining of the eye. He also had kidney failure. Two years later, he had his leg amputated due to poor circulation—made worse from smoking. "I lost my leg, and that's when I quit," he says.
His life is very different now. Married and the father of four children, he says he worries that he won't be able to provide for his family. "Smoking is a nasty addiction," he says. "It's not cool, and it doesn't do anybody any good. Don't ever start smoking."
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