Real Stories by Disease/Condition

The individuals below are participating in the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign. All of them have been affected by cigarette smoke. Some are former smokers and some have never smoked. Almost all of them are living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. These diseases and disabilities changed the quality of their lives — some dramatically — including how they eat, dress, and handle daily tasks. Some had to give up activities they once loved doing. They agreed to share their stories with you, to send a single, powerful message: Quit smoking now. Or better yet — don’t ever start.

Also view stories by Name or by Specific Group.

Asthma

Ellie

Meet Ellie. Ellie, age 57, lives in Florida and never smoked. At 35, she started having asthma attacks triggered from breathing secondhand smoke at work. The severe attacks forced her to leave a job she loved.

Jamason

Meet Jamason. Jamason, age 18, lives in Kentucky. He was an infant when he was diagnosed with asthma. When people smoke around him, the secondhand smoke can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks.

Cancer

Annette

Meet Annette. Annette, age 57, lives in New York and began smoking in her teens. At age 52, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, which required removal of one of her lungs. She was later diagnosed with oral cancer.

Brian

Meet Brian H. Brian, age 63, lives in Texas. An Air Force veteran, Brian had his first heart attack at age 35 while he was stationed in England. He quit smoking in 2009 and received a heart transplant in July 2012. While Brian remained smokefree, the damage caused by years of smoking continued to affect his body. In January 2017, Brian was diagnosed with lung cancer and had part of his lung removed.

Christine

Meet Christine. Christine, age 49, lives in Pennsylvania and began smoking at age 16. At age 44, she was diagnosed with oral cancer, which eventually required doctors to remove half of her jaw.

Julia

Meet Julia. Julia, age 58, lives in Mississippi and started smoking in her early twenties. At age 49, she developed colon cancer. She’s had surgery and chemotherapy and has lived with an ostomy bag taped to a hole in her abdomen.

Mark

Meet Mark. Mark, age 47, lives in California and started smoking as a teenager. He continued smoking during military service in the Persian Gulf and in civilian life until he developed rectal cancer at age 42.

Rose

Meet Rose. Rose lived in Texas and began smoking at age 13. She developed lung cancer that later spread to her brain. After many, many treatments, Rose died in January 2015. She was 60.

Shane

Meet Shane. Shane lived in Wisconsin and began smoking at age 18. At age 34, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and his larynx and upper esophagus were removed. Shane died in August 2016 from smoking-related cancer.

Sharon

Meet Sharon. Sharon, age 58, lives in Illinois and began smoking at age 13. In 1997, at age 37, she was diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer.

Shawn

Meet Shawn. Shawn, age 50, lives in Washington State and began smoking at age 14. At 46, he was diagnosed with throat cancer that required 38 radiation treatments and the removal of his larynx.

Terrie

Meet Terrie. Terrie lived in North Carolina and began smoking in high school. At 40, she was diagnosed with oral and throat cancers and had her larynx removed. She died of a smoking-related cancer in September 2013. She was 53.