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Jamason's Story

18-year-old Jamason was diagnosed with asthma as an infant. He never really understood the dangers of secondhand smoke until it triggered a severe asthma attack. Jamason never smoked cigarettes. Even when friends tried to talk him into having one cigarette, he would reply, "It's just not cool to smoke."

Jamason's worst attack occurred when he was 16, at a fast food restaurant where he worked. He was sweeping close to some coworkers who were smoking, and he started having trouble breathing. He called his mother, frantic for help. She found him at work gasping for air. He was hospitalized for 4 days.

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Jamason: "I Didn't Know Why I Couldn't Breathe"

Jamason and his mother Sherri talk about the day Jamason had to go to the hospital after having a severe asthma attack at work, triggered by exposure to secondhand smoke. Recounting the drive to the hospital, Sherri said, "I just held his hand, and told him just squeeze it every now and then so I know he's breathing." In this video from CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Jamason admits that after such a severe attack, he was afraid to leave the hospital because he knew that outside, in the real world, people smoke.

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