Shawn’s Story

Meet Shawn
Meet Shawn

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.

Shawn’s Videos


Shawn was in his mid-forties when a chronic cough and laryngitis turned out to be throat cancer. He finally quit smoking—but doctors were unable to save his larynx. In these commercials and extended videos, Shawn tells his story.

Shawn’s Tip Ad
Shawn was 14 years old when he started smoking. In his mid-forties, a chronic cough and laryngitis turned out to be throat cancer. He finally quit smoking—but doctors were unable to save his larynx. In this TV ad, Shawn talks about the hardships of life with a stoma, a permanent opening in his throat.
Shawn’s Story
Shawn, diagnosed with throat cancer in his mid-forties, discusses how he never thought he’d get sick as a result of smoking in this video from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign.
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.
Anthem Ad
This TV ad, from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign, features Shane, Sharon, and Shawn — three people who have stomas as a result of their smoking. They provide tips on how to live with this condition.

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Shawn’s Biography


Fourteen-year-old Shawn was only trying to make friends and fit in at a new school when he started sneaking 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

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. As someone who enjoyed singing and playing the guitar, Shawn says the loss of his natural voice was “heartbreaking.”

“I went through 3 years of treatment and recovery,” says Shawn, who is now 50. “I have to get my implant changed every 90 days, and it’s not fun.”

Shawn wants others to learn from his experiences through the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign. He hopes his story will help others quit smoking.

“It’s a rough road,” he says. “I wouldn’t like to see anyone else go through what I’ve gone through, because it affects you the rest of your life. You have a choice. Look at me and you see where choosing to smoke leads. Is this the choice you want to make?”

More About Shawn


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