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Shawn's Story

Fourteen-year-old Shawn was only trying to make friends and fit in at a new school when he started taking cigarettes from his father. But more than 30 years later he was still smoking, and the damage to his body was taking its toll.

Shawn was in his mid-forties when a chronic cough and laryngitis turned out to be throat cancer. He endured 38 radiation treatments and hours at the doctor's office and finally quit smoking—but doctors were unable to save his larynx. He now has a stoma (opening) that allows him to breathe and a laryngeal implant that allows him to speak.

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Shawn's Struggle to Quit Smoking

In this video, Shawn talks about his addiction to cigarettes and his struggle to quit smoking, even after throat cancer. It wasn't until his voice box was removed that he quit. He finally realized "You either quit smoking or you're going to die." This video is part of CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign.

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