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 S. 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.

Meet Asaad and Leah

Meet Asaad M. and Leah M. Asaad, age 25, lives in California with his mother, Leah, age 52. Leah has colorectal cancer from smoking that metastasized to her lung. Asaad was 19 years old when he put his life on hold to take care of his mom.

Geri

Meet Geri M. Geri, age 58, lives in Michigan and started smoking menthol cigarettes at age 20. She lives with smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and relies on oxygen therapy to help her breathe.

Jamason

Meet Jamason C.  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 F. 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 C. 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 W. 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 S. 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 R. 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

Military Service Members & Veterans

Beatrice

Meet Beatrice R. Beatrice, age 40, lives in New York and formerly served in the U.S. Navy. She began smoking regularly at age 13. A mother of two, Beatrice quit smoking in 2010 because she wanted to be around for her family.

Brian

Meet Brian H. Brian, age 65, lives in Texas and started smoking at age 8. Since his first heart attack at age 35, Brian has been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had bypass surgery, a heart transplant, lung cancer, and part of his lung removed due to smoking.

James

Meet James F. 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 A. 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 P. Michael lived 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. Michael died in 2020 at age 64.

Nathan

Meet Nathan M. Nathan, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, lived in Idaho. Exposure to secondhand smoke at work triggered asthma attacks so severe he had to leave his job. Lung damage led to his death in October 2013 at age 54.

Roosevelt

Meet Roosevelt S. 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.

Quitting information for Military