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Becky's Story

Becky started smoking cigarettes in 1976 as an exchange student when she was living with a host family in Germany during her junior year of high school. Becky smoked to fit in with her host family members and her friends. Over time, she discovered she had trouble quitting.

At age 45, Becky was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—a serious lung disease that gradually makes it harder and harder to breathe. Becky continued to smoke after her diagnosis and was hospitalized in 2012 when she was unable to catch her breath one day while leaving work. She tried not to panic but knew she needed immediate medical help. Becky remembers waking up in the intensive care unit and facing the fight of her life.

Today, Becky needs continuous oxygen to help her breathe, but she’s grateful that she quit and can now help educate others about the dangers of smoking. “Whenever I had a craving, I said to myself, ‘I choose not to smoke today,’” Becky said.

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Becky’s Tip

Becky started smoking cigarettes in high school to fit in. She was a heavy smoker for many years and at age 45, Becky was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—a serious lung disease. In this ad from CDC’s Tips From Former SmokersTM campaign, Becky talks about her need for continuous oxygen.

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