Real Stories by Specific Group

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 they once loved doing. They speak from experience and 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 Disease/Condition.

African Americans

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.

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.

James

Meet James. James, age 48, lives in New York and began smoking at age 14. He quit smoking in 2010 to reduce his risk for health problems and now bikes 10 miles every day.

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.

Marie

Meet Marie. Marie, age 62, lives in New York and began smoking in high school. Diagnosed with Buerger’s disease in her forties, Marie has undergone amputations of part of her right foot, her left leg, and several fingertips.

Roosevelt

Meet Roosevelt. Roosevelt, age 51, lives in Virginia and began smoking in his teens. At age 45, he had a heart attack. Doctors later placed stents in his heart and performed six bypasses.

Tiffany

Meet Tiffany. Tiffany, age 40, lives in Louisiana. She started smoking at 19, even though her mother, a smoker, died of lung cancer. Tiffany quit smoking — wanting to be around for her own teenage daughter.

Quitting information for African Americans

American Indians / Alaska Natives

Michael

Meet Michael. Michael, age 57, lives in Alaska and began smoking at age 9. At 44, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which makes it harder and harder to breathe and can cause death.

Nathan

Meet Nathan. Nathan lived in Idaho. A member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, he was exposed to secondhand smoke at work that caused permanent lung damage and triggered asthma attacks so severe he had to leave his job. His illness led to his death in October 2013. He was 54.

Quitting information for American Indians/Alaska Natives

Asian American

Rico

Meet Rico. Rico, age 48, lives in California. He was diagnosed with cancer at age 45. Rico was determined to quit smoking and be smokefree for life. Now that he’s quit and a cancer survivor, he feels blessed to spend time with his family.

Quitting information for Asian Americans

Hispanics / Latinos

Beatrice

Meet Beatrice. Beatrice, age 40, lives in New York and began smoking regularly at age 13. A mother of two, she quit smoking in 2010 because she wanted to be around for her family.

Felicita

Meet Felicita. Felicita, age 54, lives in Florida and began smoking at age 12. She didn’t know smoking could harm her gums and teeth. She lost all her teeth by age 50.

Jessica and her son, Aden

Meet Jessica. Jessica, age 28, lives in New York and has never smoked. Her son, Aden, was diagnosed with asthma at age 3, and exposure to secondhand smoke has triggered asthma attacks.

Mariano

Meet Mariano. Mariano, age 55, lives in Illinois. He started smoking at 15. In 2004, he had open heart surgery and barely escaped having a heart attack. He quit smoking — grateful for a second chance at life.

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.

Quitting information for Hispanics/Latinos

HIV

Brian

Meet Brian. Brian, age 45, lives in California and has HIV. At 14, he started smoking. At 43, smoking, combined with HIV, caused him to have a stroke. He quit that day and hopes to regain full use of his right hand.

Quitting information for those who are HIV positive

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)

Brian

Meet Brian. Brian, age 45, lives in California and has HIV. At 14, he started smoking. At 43, smoking, combined with HIV, caused him to have a stroke. He quit that day and hopes to regain full use of his right hand.

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.

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.

Quitting information for LGBT

Military Service Members & Veterans

Brian

Meet Brian. 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.

James

Meet James. James, age 48, lives in New York and began smoking at age 14. He quit smoking in 2010 to reduce his risk for health problems and now bikes 10 miles every day.

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.

Michael

Meet Michael. Michael, age 57, lives in Alaska and began smoking at age 9. At 44, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which makes it harder and harder to breathe and can cause death.

Nathan

Meet Nathan. Nathan lived in Idaho. A member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, he was exposed to secondhand smoke at work that caused permanent lung damage and triggered asthma attacks so severe he had to leave his job. His illness led to his death in October 2013. He was 54.

Quitting information for Military

Pregnant or Planning

Amanda

Meet Amanda. Amanda, age 30, lives in Wisconsin and began smoking in fifth grade. She smoked during pregnancy, and her baby was born 2 months early. Her tiny girl spent weeks in an incubator.

Quitting information for those who are pregnant or planning

box-I-want-to-quit-reponsive-banner-bottom-throughout


I'm Ready to Quit!  FREE resources provided by smokefree.gov