Real people. Real stories. The real impact of tobacco

Education campaign returns with powerful stories to help Island County residents quit smoking

As a high school student wanting to fit in, Christine began smoking at age 16. She became addicted and continued smoking for 28 years, before her life changed forever in 2007.

At age 44, a biopsy of a growth inside her cheek revealed oral cancer. After 35 radiation treatments and chemotherapy, she seemed cured, but the cancer returned in 2008; this time surgery was her only option. Her third bout in 2009 was even more serious. The cancer had spread to her jawbone, classifying it as stage IV, and doctors had to remove half of her jaw.

Today, at age 55, Christine has been smoke-free for 11 years.

Christine’s story is one of several shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the CDC again tells the stories of real people living with the effects of smoking-related diseases and secondhand smoke exposure.

The Tips From Former Smokers campaign shares how real people’s lives were changed forever due to their smoking. Each real story represents thousands and thousands of Americans suffering from similar illnesses caused by smoking.

“All of the Tips ad participants are heroes,” said Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, MPH, Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “By courageously sharing their painful personal stories, they’re inspiring millions of Americans to make the life-saving decision to quit smoking.”

“These ads bring to life the devastating effects of smoking, helping people quit and encouraging those who aren’t smoking never to start,” says Nicole Marley, public health coordinator with Island County Public Health. “As a public health official, I know all too well the terrible toll of smoking. Island County Public Health is committed to helping our residents know the reality of smoking-related disease and death – and to prevent these realities from happening to them.”

The campaign counters the more than $8.7 billion that was spent on advertising and promotion of cigarettes in 2016 – more than $23 million every day and nearly $1 million every hour.

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

Nearly 70 per cent of smokers say they want to quit. Here’s the resources to do so.

Call 1-800-QUIT NOW: This toll-free number accesses free quitting support across the country, or visit to view personal stories from the campaign and for free help quitting.

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