Tips from Former Smokers on Why You Should Quit – Or Never Start

March 15, 2012

Meet Terrie.  She starts her day by putting on a blonde wig and affixing a hands-free device to her tracheotomy hole to help her speak.  Meet Brandon, who sits at the edge of his bed to ease on his artificial limbs. And Roosevelt – he’ll show you the deep scar that runs up and down his torso, the result of heart surgery.

These former smokers are the unlikely stars of the new nationwide media campaign aimed at encouraging smokers to quit and preventing children from starting to smoke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled the ads at a Washington news conference.

“You think this will happen to other people,” said Terrie, who was diagnosed with throat cancer at age 40 and spoke at the news conference. “Well, I’m the other people.”

The advertising campaign is a smart investment that will save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs. Research has found that the most effective media campaigns evoke strong emotions and realistically depict the devastating health consequences of tobacco use – just as these new ads do. 

“You just don’t know what the consequence of that next cigarette will be,” says Brandon, who is 31 and lost both his legs to Buerger’s disease, a disorder linked to tobacco use that causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to become blocked and can result in infection or gangrene.  Brandon was diagnosed at age 18.

Importantly, these ads offer smokers encouragement and help in quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting

Watch them here:

Terri's Ad

Buerger's Disease Ad

Roosevelt's Ad


The tobacco industry spends $10.5 billion a year – more than one million dollars every hour – to entice kids, keep smokers hooked and glamorize their deadly and addictive products.  The CDC’s campaign will tell the harsh truth about how devastating and unglamorous cigarette smoking truly is.

Think of them as reality TV – but with life-saving value.